Skip to main content


See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at jhttp : //books . qooqle . com/ 



Thia On* 




espAnoles e ingleses 

En el Siglo xvi 


Consisting of the following studies in Spanish ; — 








3/. SJ. net. 



Painter unknown. Owner, the Duke of Devonshire. 
Photo., Hanfttaengl. 











Edinburgh : T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty 


The science of historical writing has never entirely 
shaken itself free from the vices of its origin. The 
heroic ballad, hyperbolically exalting the central figure 
whose doughty deeds it sang, was necessarily the work 
of a whole-souled admirer of its subject : the kingly 
chronicle that succeeded it was written, either by a 
court scribe in the pay of the potentate whose reign it 
recorded, or by a dependant of the victorious rival who 
had deposed him. The natural result was that the 
conspicuous personages of history were usually repre- 
sented as paragons of goodness and wisdom, or as 
monsters of crime and folly. They were assumed to 
have created the circumstances by which they were 
surrounded, and to be swayed in their policy with 
regard to them, only by their own innate virtue or 
viciousness. They were, indeed, regarded, not so 
much as human beings, subject to the ordinary mixed 
motives and impulses that rule all men, as originat- 
ing forces, dominated either by beneficent or malefic 
instincts. When once they were classed, either 
amongst the sheep or the goats, there was the end 


of it, and there was no necessity to seek any further 
to find the mainspring of all the actions of their lives. 

Now that the opening of national archives and the 
extensive reproduction of historical documents have 
rendered it possible, and indeed necessary, to supple- 
ment the old-fashioned history, taking a broad and 
superficial view of events, by more intimate studies of 
the real motives and influences of political action, the 
same tendency is observable. For the sake of con- 
venience the episodical histories, which of late years 
have multiplied so rapidly, have usually assumed a 
biographical form ; a series of events being grouped 
around the prominent figures, in order that the human 
interest of the historical narrative may be increased. 
The result, in many cases, is excellent, though it 
sometimes happens that the author is tempted to shut 
out from his purview all political factors other than 
his own subject ; but the great drawback to the 
grouping of historical incidents around a prominent 
actor in the events related is, that the more interesting 
the personality the more centralised in his character 
the history becomes, whilst the events themselves 
and the concurrent influences upon them are propor- 
tionately dwarfed and thrown out of perspective. 
Studies dealing with events, written round such 
fascinating individualities, in a great number of cases, 
indeed, become passionate attacks upon, or vindica- 


tions of, the characters of the principal persons, and 
it is assumed that if the ktter can be proved either 
to have been very good or very bad, the influence 
they exerted upon their times needs no further 

The only excuse that can be advanced for the pro- 
duction of a new book on Mary Stuart is that her 
supremely interesting personality has so frequendy led 
her historians into the by-path of inquiry as to her 
virtue or vice, as to have obscured, to some extent, 
the reasons for her disastrous political failure ; which, 
as it seems to me, did not spring from her goodness 
or badness as a woman, but from certain human 
weaknesses of character, quite compatible with general 
goodness and wisdom or with the reverse, but which 
fatally handicapped her as against antagonists who are 
less subject to such weakness. 

It is a curious consideration that the sixteenth century 
was sharply divided into two well-marked periods, 
the virile first half, when Charles v., Henry vni., 
and Francis i. — three men if ever such existed — made 
circumstances and originated policies ; and the 
feminine latter half, when Elizabeth Tudor, Mary 
Stuart, Catharine de Medici, and the cautious, timid, 
narrow, almost womanish Philip n. had to deal, as 
best they could, according to their lights, with the 
circumstances and problems that had been set for 


them by others. The whole of the policy of these 
four most prominent personages of their time was 
consistently feminine, if not feline. The chicane of 
political courtship and marriage proceeded without 
interruption for many years as a main branch of 
European diplomacy. If a rival was becoming too 
strong, his neighbours did not attempt to beat him in 
the field, but developed a languishing desire to marry 
another rival, who was dropped as soon as the object 
of the wooing was served. With bewildering muta- 
tions in the persons of her suitors, Elizabeth managed 
to keep the ball rolling until she could snap her aged 
fingers at the world, and boasted that, after all, she 
died a virgin ; whilst Catharine practically ruled France 
for twenty years by her dexterous manipulation of the 
matrimonial affairs of her children. 

It was Mary Stuart's misfortune, as it was many 
years later that of her unhappy niece Arabella, that 
she thought she was capable of playing Elizabeth's 
cunning game without Elizabeth's peculiar advantages ; 
and the disaster that fell upon her cause was the 
direct result of this mistake. An attempt is made in 
this book to tell, at length, the story of the marriage 
intrigues by which Mary Stuart hoped to compass 
her great ambition. The question of how good, or 
how bad, she was as a woman, has been kept as much 
as possible in the background. It is specially as a 


politician that I have wished to regard her, for she 
represented in her own person the principle which, if 
she had succeeded, would have destroyed the Refor- 
mation, and established the supremacy of Spanish 
Catholicism in Europe. However wicked she might 
have been personally, that would not have altered the 
result, if the ends she sought in her marriages had 
been attained. Murder was at the time almost as 
legitimate an instrument of policy as matrimony ; and 
a generation that revered Catharine de Medici after 
St. Bartholomew, that applauded Philip n. for the 
execution of Montigny, and lauded Alba to the skies ; 
a generation that regarded with approval the religious 
martyrdoms under Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, would 
not have turned against Mary Stuart, if her diplomacy 
had been successful. Every one in Scotland and out 
of it knew that the men who persecuted her were 
much more guilty of the murder of Darnley than she 
was ; and yet they were exalted and honoured until 
their political enemies wrought vengeance upon them. 

The recent publication in full of the Scottish State 
Papers relating to Mary in Mr. Bain's Calendars ; the 
Hatfield Papers, printed by the Historical Manuscripts 
Commission ; and the textual translations of the 
Spanish State Papers of the period, produced by His 
Majesty's Government under my own editorship, have 
enabled me to supplement other known sources of 


information with many details and extracts from 
documents which have not hitherto been quoted 
at length. In a book such as this, abounding in 
controversial points, many of my conclusions will 
doubtless be challenged ; but I would wish to assure 
my readers, that though I have nothing extenuated, 
I have nought set down in malice, my one object 
being to elucidate the influence exercised, in the most 
critical period of modern history, by the management 
of her Love Affairs by the most pathetically interesting 
woman in the annals of our country. 


London, September 1903. 
















MARY STUART, .... Frontispiece 

From a contemporary painting in tht collection of His Grace 
the Duke of Devonshire, 


From a contemporary painting in the collection of His Grace 
the Duhe of Devonshire t 


From a contemporary miniature in the collection of the Hon 
Mrs. Boyle. 



were opened, new affinities were formed, and the inter- 
national balance readjusted. Hopes, aims, and fears 
before unknown ; ambition, greed, envy, and defiance 
were to mingle and divide in the bubbling cauldron 
of change, with infinite perturbation and distress, for 
many a year, before the atoms cooled and coalesced 
into the form which modern Europe took. This 
process of transformation from medievalism to the 
systems which have developed into our own gives to 
the study of sixteenth-century history a fascination and 
importance possessed by that of no other modern period ; 
and justifies the minute consideration of every influence 
which left its mark upon the events of the time. 

Although I am not inclined to exaggerate the power 
exercised over the development of peoples by the mere 
personality of the prominent actors in the great drama 
of national progress, it would be idle to deny that the 
peculiar characters of the high personages who directed 
policies in the sixteenth century had a very consider- 
able bearing upon the final result of the long struggle. 
The cold-blooded, cautious suspicion which dictated 
the system of Philip n. hampered his action and fatally 
handicapped his cause. Whilst he was pondering and 
seeking compromising pledges, binding everybody but 
himself, others were taking the inevitable risks and 
acting. It is almost platitudinous to say, that if 
Philip had not been so desperately anxious to ' mak 
siccar' before he moved, the civilisation of Europe 
would have developed upon lines quite different from 
those now followed. Again, if Catharine de Medici 
had possessed a tithe of her Spanish son-in-law's con- 
scientious steadfastness, or any religious conviction at 
all; had Charles ix. and Henry in. been decent 


persons, or the Guise ambition less unscrupulous, 
France might have been spared its devastating civil 
wars, and religious liberty have been established as a 
principle in a country emancipated from Rome. Or if 
Elizabeth Tudor had not been from the circumstances 
of her birth inextricably bound up with the anti- 
papal party in Europe, England would probably have 
reverted to Catholicism, More than once Elizabeth 
was within an ace of making terms with the enemy at 
her gates, and entering the inner ring of old royalties, 
whom she alternately flattered and defied, and always 
envied. But the peculiarity of her parents* position, 
her own imperious hatred of submission, and the 
maritime enterprise of her people, always held her on 
the brink, and she never took the plunge. Elsewhere 
I have attempted to describe how Elizabeth's personal 
vanity and love of domination, counteracting each 
other, kept her for a lifetime in the matrimonial 
balance, and how her loudly trumpeted celibacy, com- 
bined with avidity for male admiration, were dexter- 
ously utilised for the national advantage by the Queen 
and her sagacious minister, though with frequent 
misgivings and apprehension at treading so slippery 
a declivity. But if Elizabeth by her long marriage 
juggle, and by the fortuitous adjustment of her 
qualities, contributed powerfully to keep England 
Protestant and France wavering ; secured for the 
critical years the inactivity of Spain, the resistance 
of Protestant Holland, and the freedom of English 
navigation, her rival Mary Stuart was a hardly less 
powerful factor in the triumph of England, by reason 
of certain defects in her character, the consequences of 
which will be dealt with at length in this book. 


them by others. The whole of the policy of these 
four most prominent personages of their time was 
consistently feminine, if not feline. The chicane of 
political courtship and marriage proceeded without 
interruption for many years as a main branch of 
European diplomacy. If a rival was becoming too 
strong, his neighbours did not attempt to beat him in 
the field, but developed a languishing desire to marry 
another rival, who was dropped as soon as the object 
of the wooing was served. With bewildering muta- 
tions in the persons of her suitors, Elizabeth managed 
to keep the ball rolling until she could snap her aged 
fingers at the world, and boasted that, after all, she 
died a virgin ; whilst Catharine practically ruled France 
for twenty years by her dexterous manipulation of the 
matrimonial affairs of her children. 

It was Mary Stuart's misfortune, as it was many 
years later that of her unhappy niece Arabella, that 
she thought she was capable of playing Elizabeth's 
cunning game without Elizabeth's peculiar advantages ; 
and the disaster that fell upon her cause was the 
direct result of this mistake. An attempt is made in 
this book to tell, at length, the story of the marriage 
intrigues by which Mary Stuart hoped to compass 
her great ambition. The question of how good, or 
how bad, she was as a woman, has been kept as much 
as possible in the background. It is specially as a 


politician that I have wished to regard her, for she 
represented in her own person the principle which, if 
she had succeeded, would have destroyed the Refor- 
mation, and established the supremacy of Spanish 
Catholicism in Europe. However wicked she might 
have been personally, that would not have altered the 
result, if the ends she sought in her marriages had 
been attained. Murder was at the time almost as 
legitimate an instrument of policy as matrimony ; and 
a generation that revered Catharine de Medici after 
St. Bartholomew, that applauded Philip u. for the 
execution of Montigny, and lauded Alba to the skies ; 
a generation that regarded with approval the religious 
martyrdoms under Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, would 
not have turned against Mary Stuart, if her diplomacy 
had been successful. Every one in Scotland and out 
of it knew that the men who persecuted her were 
much more guilty of the murder of Darnley than she 
was ; and yet they were exalted and honoured until 
their political enemies wrought vengeance upon them. 

The recent publication in full of the Scottish State 
Papers relating to Mary in Mr. Bain's Calendars ; the 
Hatfield Papers, printed by the Historical Manuscripts 
Commission ; and the textual translations of the 
Spanish State Papers of the period, produced by His 
Majesty's Government under my own editorship, have 
enabled me to supplement other known sources of 


information with many details and extracts from 
documents which have not hitherto been quoted 
at length. In a book such as this, abounding in 
controversial points, many of my conclusions will 
doubtless be challenged ; but I would wish to assure 
my readers, that though I have nothing extenuated, 
I have nought set down in malice, my one object 
being to elucidate the influence exercised, in the most 
critical period of modern history, by the management 
of her Love Affairs by the most pathetically interesting 
woman in the annals of our country. 


London, September 1903. 



PREFACE ....... 





FRANCE . . . .71 











this, and all men know it, let them feign ignorance as 
they may, is but the involuntary natural manifestation 
of the character within, transcending speech and leap- 
ing over barriers, appealing alone to hearts attuned, 
and gathering potency itself from the answer flashed 
back unwittingly by those who respond to its sensuous 

As was the case with those of Elizabeth, what we call, 
for want of a better name, the love affairs of Mary 
Stuart were in most cases purely political, and intended 
by those who promoted them to serve interests apart 
from the happiness of the persons principally con- 
cerned. It is intended in the present book to give 
a brief review of the various proposals made for 
marriage with the Queen of Scots, in order to explain 
their bearing upon the great political issues of the 
time, and to show how in certain cases where Mary's 
imagination was stirred her political judgment, con- 
spicuous in the other cases, deserted her, and her 
temporary weakness led her and her cause to ruin, and 
powerfully aided the policy of Elizabeth. 

It was a game so skilfully played by those who 
took the leading part in it, the broad issues were so 
tremendous, the stakes of the players themselves so 
important to them personally, that no points could be 
lost with impunity ; and we shall be able to observe 
that Mary Stuart failed because she made more mistakes 
than her adversaries, mistakes, it is true, often arising 
out of her superior magnanimity and her stronger 
trust in the honour and honesty of others. This was 
of itself a weakness at a time when the falsity of 
politicians had been elevated to a fine art ; and her 
own early lessons must have taught her that dissimu- 


lation was the favourite weapon of contemporary 
statesmen, and more especially of the school to which 
her instructors belonged. But when to this weakness 
was added the belief on her part that she could use 
matrimonial intrigue to forward her ends in the same 
way that Elizabeth did, notwithstanding the great 
difference in their characters, the inevitability of her 
ruinous failure was manifest. 

Whether she was actually privy to the murder of 
Darnley or not does not vitally affect the main issue. 
Unless we are content to believe that the whole of 
the contents of the Casket were forged, which I most 
emphatically am not, however much certain of the 
papers may have been doctored, we must come to the 
conclusion that her infatuation for the person of 
Bothwell began before her husband's death, as we 
know it continued after it, notwithstanding the 
euphemistic explanations at a subsequent period, 
when the glamour had worn oft her temporary 
obsession ; and in that case her actual complicity or 
otherwise in the murder of her consort would pro- 
bably have made no great difference in the march of 
events. Darnley, with his weakness, his vices, and 
his follies, surrounded by nobles who hated and were 
jealous of him, at issue with his wife whom he had 
disgusted, and scorned by a people whom he had 
offended by his presumption, was condemned in any 
case to disappear, as Murray, Lennox, and Morton 
subsequently disappeared, with much less reason 
against them than he had. It was not so much 
Darnley's death and the assumed complicity of his 
wife in his murder that led Mary along the first 
steps on the via dolorosa of Carbery, Loch Leven, 


Carlisle, and Fotheringay, as the anger of her envious, 
discontented nobles, and the indignation of Murray, 
that the Queen should endure, even if she did not 
seek, the adulterous embraces of a Scotsman of no 
better rank than their own. The timely murder of 
Darnley was only an added opprobrium and ignominy 
to the main fact. The value of human life, as against 
the assumed welfare of the State or the sovereign, was 
so small in the sixteenth century, in comparison with 
that which we attach to it to-day, that Mary might 
well have been willing to wink at the sacrifice of her 
troublesome consort without incurring the penalty of 
being regarded as a monster of wickedness, as she 
would be according to the ethics of our own times. 
The violent removal of obnoxious personages was a 
recognised political instrument of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and the act was easily condoned for the sake of 
the result. Philip n. regarded himself, and was 
regarded by his people, as a saint, notwithstanding 
the sacrifice of Montigny, the Prince of Orange, and 
many other human obstacles in the path of his policy. 
Catharine de Medici lived revered, and died in the 
odour of sanctity, in spite of St. Bartholomew and 
poisonings innumerable. The death of Amy Robsart 
of Throckmorton, and a host of other suspected 
victims, did not suffice to make Leicester unpopular ; 
and the monk Clement was hailed by the clerical party 
throughout Europe as a hero for killing Henry in., 
just as the latter was welcomed with open arms by the 
Huguenots after he had gloated over the murder of 
Guise. Nay, Mary Stuart herself, when Murray fell 
before Hamilton's harquebus, had nothing but sweet 
words and rewards for the assassin of her brother, and 


not one thought the worse of her for that. It is 
therefore easy to overrate the political importance of 
Mary's guilt or innocence in Darnley's murder, and 
the question has concentrated the attention of inves- 
tigators, not really so much on account of its influence 
upon historical events, which was purposely exag- 
gerated at the time and since, as because it decides 
to a large extent whether the Queen of Scots is to 
be regarded personally as a saint cruelly sacrificed or 
as a sinner rightly punished ; and provides a ground 
whereupon sentimental polemics of opposite views may 
disport and attack each other's creeds. 

An attempt will therefore be made in this book to 
trace the influence aimed at or exercised upon the 
great events of the century of the Reformation by the 
various matrimonial affairs of Mary Stuart, and by her 
personal idiosyncrasy in connection with them, whilst 
avoiding the religious or romantic bias that has so 
often led the Queen's biographers to tell only that 
part of the story that supports their particular views 
regarding her goodness or badness as a woman accord- 
ing to the code of the present century ; an aspect of 
her life which is quite secondary in real historical 
importance, however attractive it may be as a subject 
for abstract speculation. 

In the secular struggle of the house of Aragon and its 
successor the Emperor Charles v. with France for the 
domination of Italy, the only effectual guarantee against 
the danger of England's actively throwing in her lot 
with her traditional friend the possessor of Spain and 
Flanders and attacking the northern coasts of France 
whilst the latter power had its forces occupied in the 
south, was for the King of France to keep a tight hold 


of his alliance with Scotland, and so to control the 
policy of the Scots as to enable him at any time to 
produce a diversion on the Border that should keep 
England too busy to trouble her southern neighbour, 
or interfere in favour of the Emperor when he was at 
war with his rival. The existence of the Scottish 
4 back door ' to England, with an ever-probable enemy 
on the other side of it, had thus for centuries been a 
check on English influence and power, and a humilia- 
tion to English kings in their antagonism with their 
nearest Continental neighbour. But with the spread 
of Lutheranism in Germany, and Henry vin.'s defiance 
of the papacy, the Catholic powers, drawn together by 
an instinctive movement of self-preservation in face of 
a common danger, found a fresh bond of union in 
their orthodoxy, which, to some extent, superseded 
their old antagonistic ambitions. In these circum- 
stances the policy of English statesmen, which aimed 
at the control of Scottish foreign relations to the 
exclusion of French influence, became, not as it had 
been for centuries, simply a desirable object to be 
patiently striven for in season and out of season, but 
an imperative need, in order to preserve England's in- 
dependence ; for if Henry lost the power of balancing 
one of the great Catholic sovereigns against the other, 
he had no longer the means of shutting the Scottish 
back door, and might at any time be attacked, front 
and rear, to his inevitable destruction. 

A series of royal minorities and consequent regencies 
had weakened the power of the sovereign in Scotland 
almost to extinction, and the lawless, jealous, semi- 
independent nobles practically monopolised the armed 
force of the country. Their poverty and greed made 


them particularly susceptible to such influence as 
Henry vin. could wield, and from the early days of 
his defection from Rome divide et impera became the 
active policy of the English king in his nephew's realm. 
By that course alone could he hope for safety for 
his own country. At a time when (1542) the rival 
ambitions of Francis and the Emperor in Italy still 
caused their mundane antagonism to be stronger than 
their religious affinity, and both had need of England, 
the opportunity for Henry to prevail in Scotland 
came. He had chosen to side with Charles in the 
coming war, but before openly showing his hand he 
set about disabling the Scots for harm whilst Francis 
was too busy to defend them. A pretext for war was 
always easy to find by the wolf against the lamb, and 
on the plea that James v. was mustering his forces on 
the Border, the strife began. James was surrounded 
by traitors, for English money and religious dissension 
had profoundly divided the Scottish gentry. Cardinal 
Beaton, the King's principal adviser, was intensely 
unpopular, the powerftd Douglas family was disaffected 
or exiled, and the forces with which James rashly 
attempted to raid the western English marches, though 
large, were wild and undisciplined. The disgraceful 
rout of the Scots at Solway Moss (24th November 
1542) was a natural result, and sent James, heart- 
broken, flying to Tantallon ; thence to Edinburgh to 
meet his divided Council, and then across the Forth 
to Falkland to die. 

Only four years and a half before this Mary of 
Guise, a worthy daughter of that branch of the house 
of Lorraine that had settled in France, had married 
James as his second wife. Two sons had been born 


to them and had died in infancy. The gossips were 
agog for weeks before the battle with premature news 
of the birth of another child ; and whilst the Scottish 
king lay sick unto death, there came to him tidings 
that, on the 8th December 1542, at Linlithgow, a girl- 
child had been born to him, an heiress to his ancient 
crown and to the troubles that had overwhelmed her 
father. The babe was said to be premature, * a very 
weak child and not like to live,' 1 but in any case her 
coming brought no solace to James. He had been 
a gallant lover and faithless ; Mary of Lorraine had 
been but a passing fancy, and was already supplanted 
in his heart; a child by her, and especially a girl, 
touched him less than one by his mistress at Tantallon 
would have done ; and he heard the news with his 
prophetic presage of evil which has passed into com- 
mon speech. c The devil go with it. It will end as 
it began : it came with a woman and it will end in a 
woman * ; * a prediction not fulfilled by facts. The 
King spoke little afterwards, as Pitscottie tells us, but 
' turned his back to the lords, and his face to the 
wall ' ; and when his hour had come, ' looked up and 
beheld all his nobles about him, and gave a little smile 
of laughter, then kissed his hand,' and so passed; 
leaving the week-old Mary Stuart queen of the 
troubled realm. When James's strength and speech 
were ebbing, the Cardinal held to his dying eyes a 
scrap of paper for his assent. It purported to be 
a will leaving Beaton regent, jointly with other nobles 
of his choice — Arran, Murray, Argyle, and Huntly — 
but was afterwards asserted by Arran to be a forgery, 

1 Calendar of State Papers, Henry FIIL, vol. xvii. p. 657. 
3 John Knox. 


and the arrangement was upset after a few days* trial 
and a violent scene between the Cardinal and Arran, 
who, as head of the Hamiltons, claimed to be next heir 
to the crown. 

In the meanwhile Henry of England was busy. 
Some of the principal nobles and gentlemen of Scot- 
land had been taken prisoners at the Solway fight, and 
carried south in Henry's power. They were plied 
with arguments to show how patriotic and beneficial it 
would be to seize the opportunity of uniting England 
and Scotland by a marriage between the Prince of 
Wales and the baby Queen. They agreed with 
alacrity, and together with Bothwell and Angus, both 
English partisans in exile, signed a request to Henry, 
' to take into his hands the young daughter of Scotland 
and the whole realm, with promise to serve him to 
that intent.' 1 But besides this undertaking, ten of 
the prisoners, 2 stalwarts for England all of them or 
enemies of Arran, signed a secret pact binding them- 
selves to recognise Henry as King of Scotland in 
case of the Queen's death, to the exclusion of the 
Hamiltons. On this undertaking the whole of the 
prisoners went north, to carry out the policy, but 
before they could enter Scotland news came that 
Arran had been made sole protector, and that a 
marriage was already being discussed in Edinburgh 
between his son and heir and Mary Stuart, 'whom 
they now call princess.' This was rightly looked upon 
as a blow at the English plans. It was obvious that 

1 Hamilton Papers, p. 276. 

2 They were Earls Cassilis and Glencaim, Lords Maxwell, Fleming, 
Somervilfe, and Grey, Robert Erskine, Oliver St. Clair, and the Lairds of 
Craigy and Carssie. 


if the news was true the prisoners could not openly 
advocate their policy at Arran's court until they knew 
how the land lay, and proposals were discussed for 
the violent seizure of Mary and the fortresses, for 
the removal of Beaton and Arran, and for the assump- 
tion of power by the English faction. These desperate 
counsels were overruled, and the returning prisoners 
undertook to compass Henry's design by more peace- 
ful means, though with but small intention apparently 
of fulfilling their pledges. Already divisions were 
occurring in Scotland itself. Arran was at issue with 
the Cardinal, and suspicious of the French relatives of 
the Queen-Mother, the Duke of Guise, her father, 
being reported to be on the point of sailing for the 
purpose of seizing Dunbar and other strongholds. So 
even Arran began to chant to the English tune. He 
was reported to Henry as being * a great favourer of 
the Scriptures, and a man of very good conscience ' ; * a 
sober man, coveting no great things of the world,' and 
so on. Arran himself wrote to Lord Lisle (Dudley) 
that he 'intended to reform the state of the Kirk.' 
The returning Anglophil exile, Sir George Douglas, 
was received by him with effusion ; and in spite of 
Beaton's protest, Douglas and his brother, the Earl 
of Angus, were restored to their lands and station 
(January 1543)- 

The effect of the Douglas influence was soon seen. 
Before the end of January Arran told Sir George, that 
if he were only sure of peace with England he would 
lay hands on the Cardinal, and reform the Church of 
Scotland, as Henry had done in England. 1 The very 
next day (27th January) the Cardinal was arrested in 

1 CaUndaTy Henry VllL % vol. xviii. p. 54. 


the Council Chamber, and borne off amidst the 
shrieks of the Queen-Dowager, who had risen from 
her sick-bed at Linlithgow to attend the council. It 
was a strong measure, but Arran was not a strong 
man, and stood aghast at the effect of his own action. 
No priest in Edinburgh would say Mass, nor christen 
children, nor bury the dead. Argyle, Murray, 
Huntly, and the Catholic lords demanded the prelate's 
liberation, and threatened violence if their demand was 
not complied with. 

All this drove the overweighted Arran more and 
more into the arms of the Douglases and England. 
He busily promoted the circulation of the Scriptures 
in English, professed to fall into the English plans for 
the marriage of Mary, arranged a three months' truce 
to afford time for diplomatic action, and summoned a 
parliament at Edinburgh which should set the seal on 
the Anglicisation of Scotland and formally restore the 
lands of the Douglases. But Henry viii., impatient 
and imperious though he was, was not allowed to have 
all his own way. The Scottish returning nobles, now 
that they were in their own country and no longer 
prisoners, were less compliant than before ; and French 
intrigue was busy, for Francis 1. could not afford to 
let Scotland go without a struggle before Henry 
declared war against him. Hollow negotiations for 
the marriage of Princess Mary Tudor and the Duke 
of Orleans were kept up acrimoniously in England, 
but they deceived nobody ; and though Guise himself 
still lingered in France, Henry was in a fever of 
apprehension when he heard that a French councillor, 
Cheman, was being sent to direct the Scottish Council 
pending the arrival of the Duke, and that Captain 


L'Orges (Montgomerie) was to accompany him 'in 
case of a ruffle/ Worst of all news came that the 
young Earl of Lennox, a Gallicised Scotsman, hand- 
some and popular, and heir to the Scottish crown 
failing Arran, whom the French regarded as illegiti- 
mate, was also on his way to Scotland to marry the 
Queen-Mother and assert his heirship. 1 

Henry's great anxiety was to obtain possession of 
the baby Queen Mary at once, in accordance with the 
promises made by the Scottish prisoners before they 
left England ; and to counteract Scottish opposition 
and French influence, Sir Ralph Sadlier was sent to 
Scotland. He was a graphic letterwriter as well as a 
skilled diplomatist, and has left us precious material 
for history, but he was handicapped by finding on his 
arrival at Edinburgh that the parliament had been 
prorogued the day before, after having adopted a 
resolution authorising ambassadors to proceed to 
England, but stipulating that Mary Stuart should 
remain in Scotland until she had completed her tenth 
year. It was, they said, * an ryte hie and ryte grete 
inconvenient to the realme of Scotland to grant thareto 
(i.e. to Henry's demand for the immediate surrender 
of Mary) for sic reasons and causis as the imbass- 
adours hes hard declarit by the Counsale of Scotland, 
and as they can schew particulate themselves,' and 
they decided that, 'as for the keping of our said 
soverane ladyis personne within the realme . . . that 
her personne be kepit and nuirst principallie be hir 
moder, and four lordis of the realme that or lest 
suspect and chosen thereto. 2 At the same time a rival 

1 Calendar, Henry VUL, vol. xviii. p. 85. 
* Sadlier State Papers. 


parliament of Beaton's friends had met at Perth, 
demanding the Cardinal's release, the suppression of 
the New Testament in the vernacular, and the appoint- 
ment of the persons to proceed to England as am- 
bassadors ; but on Arran's summons the lords who had 
adopted this course afterwards attended the Edinburgh 
parliament and agreed to its decisions. 1 

Sadlier was made much of by Arran, but the latter, 
watched by jealous rivals, dared not modify the 
resolution to keep Mary in Scotland. Sir George 
Douglas and his brother Angus (Henry's brother-in- 
law) did their best : the former said that he had not 
slept three hours any night for six weeks, but even he 
repudiated any . positive promise to deliver Mary to 
the English at once, * and they that made such pro- 
mises are not able to perform them. For surely, 
quoth he, the noblemen will not agree to have her out 
of the realm, because she is their mistress.' Douglas, 
indeed, was rather indignant that Henry should expect 
so much at once. Had he not, he asked Sadlier, already 
worked wonders in the time, worming himself into 
Arran's confidence, causing the seizure of the Cardinal, 
and turning all Scotland away from France and towards 
England ? But, he said, affairs must not be pushed 
too hastily, or all would be spoilt. Give him time, 
he pleaded, and the King of England should govern 
Scotland ; but if it were tried now, * there is not so 
little a boy but he will hurl stones against it, and the 
wives will handle their distaffs, and the commons 

1 George Douglas told Sadlier 'that they had agreed well together, and 
though in the beginning one began to grin at another, there was none that 
would bite, nor fall out amongst themselves whereby they might make 
themselves prey to enemies." 



universally will rather die in it : yea, and many noble- 
men and all the clergy be . fully against it/ Sadlier 
and his master were far from contented with this, and 
urged the forcible abduction of Mary ; but this again 
and again was declared to be impossible of execution, 
such were the precautions taken for her protection. 

On the 22nd March (1 543) Sadlier had his first inter- 
view at Linlithgow with Mary of Guise, the Queen- 
Mother, who on this occasion showed herself as subtle 
and false as behoved to be a daughter of her house. 
There was nothing she desired more, she professed, 
than the union of England and Scotland by her child's 
marriage with Edward, and she would be guided by 
Henry alone in all things. But privately she warned 
Sadlier against Arran. He had himself told her that 
his arrangements with Henry were all pretence, and 
that they would keep Mary in Scotland until Henry 
died, when they could 'so handle matters that the 
contract should serve no purpose/ Arran, she knew, 
meant to marry the child to his own son, and the only 
way was for some plan to be devised by which Mary 
might be carried to England. € If your Majesty stand 
not fast on that point the marriage will never take 
place/ She said that she herself was in danger if 
Arran learnt that she had told this secret to Sadlier, 
and she would still continue to feign opposition to the 
English marriage. But she rather incautiously showed 
her hand by suggesting that the Cardinal, if he were 
released, would side with England. This was too 
much for Sadlier, who gruffly rejoined that 'the 
Cardinal would do more hurt than good, for he had 
no affection towards England/ She indignantly denied 
the current rumours that she was to marry the Earl of 


Lennox. She had been a king's wife, she said, and her 
heart was too high to look any lower. Her hatred 
and fear of Arran blazed out again and again. Would 
that her child were in Henry's hands, or anywhere, 
rather than at the mercy of the next heir to her 
throne. 'And he (Arran) said, quoth she, that the 
child was not like to live, but you shall see whether 
he saith true or not, and therewith she caused me to 
go with her to the chamber where the child was, and 
shewed her unto me, and also caused the nurse to 
unwrap her out of her clothes that I might see her 
naked. I assure your Majesty, it is as goodly a child 
as I have seen of her age, and as like to live, with the 
Grace of God.' And so, at the age of four months, 
Mary Stuart made her first conquest. 

Hardly was Sadlier out of earshot when Mary of 
Guise tearfully prayed Sir George Douglas to help her 
in preventing her child from being carried to England. 
Well might Sadlier write to his King, as he did on the 
next day, that there was * some jugglery here,' which 
he would try to fathom. Arran, when sounded, vehe- 
mently protested his faithfulness towards England, 
and his approval of the marriage. He cared, he said, 
nothing for France, so long as he had Henry's friend- 
ship, and the Cardinal was in safe keeping. 1 Besides, 
he protested, if he had been so minded he might easily 
have passed in parliament a resolution to marry Mary 
to his son. No man would have said him nay, and 
he was aggrieved that Henry should doubt him, for 
he had had * mickle cumber among the Kirk men for 

1 Arran's falsity is evident here. Beaton was already partially at liberty, 
being only confined in his own castle of St. Andrews, and soon to be 
restored to the Regency by Arran's voluntary act, as will be seen. 


his sake. 9 Even Sadlier believed that Arran would if 
he were able adopt the reformed doctrines officially in 
Scotland. But for all his efforts the English agent 
could make no way with Scots, even with Angus and 
his brother Douglas, towards the abduction and 
delivery of Mary to the keeping of her great-uncle 
Henry, who thereupon began to threaten an attack by 
arms, unless the promises of the Scottish nobles were 
kept. Henry, indeed, with less than his usual foresight, 
was inclined to believe the Queen-Mother's professions 
rather than those of his own friends the Douglases ; 
and the practical release of Beaton, and Huntly's 
suggestion to remove Mary and her mother to Stirling, 
aroused his ire against Arran to the highest pitch, 
notwithstanding the Regent's canting professions of 
Protestantism and demands for Testaments. 

Arran swore most solemnly to Sadlier that the 
Queen-Mother was a true Frenchwoman, and that she 
had belied him in her attempt to injure him in Henry's 
eyes. If he had desired to marry Mary to his son, he 
said, not a nobleman in Scotland would have opposed 
him. Indeed, at one time he had had such an idea, 
but the return of the prisoners from England with the 
offer of the marriage with Edward had caused him to 
change his mind. Some days afterwards the Queen- 
Dowager had her turn with Sadlier, and declaimed just 
as loudly against the falsity of Arran as the latter had 
against her. He had told her, she said, that he would 
rather die than deliver Mary to the English. He was 
just fooling the King of England for his own ends, 
and she it was who alone desired the marriage and 
upbringing of her child in England. 'And greatly 
she feared the surety of the child (in Scotland), for 


she heard so many tales that the governor would 
convey her to a strong house of his own, where she 
should be altogether in his hands.' * So that I per- 
ceive,' continues Sadlier, 'she is in fear of her de- 
struction, and I therefore wished her in England, which 
the Queen also wished for her part, saying that she 
would then be in her friends' hands out of all 

Nothing can be more certain than that it was 
furthest from the Queen-Mother's design to hand 
her child over to England. She was an astute states- 
woman, and in constant communication with her father, 
uncle, and brothers, whose interests were largely con- 
cerned in the maintenance of French influence and 
Catholicism in Scotland ; and the education of Mary 
in the schismatical court of Henry would have been 
a deathblow to their hopes in that respect. It is clear 
to see that her attempts to draw Henry into a point- 
blank demand for the immediate surrender of Mary, 
which she knew that Arran and the lords dared not 
grant, in the face of the Church, the Catholic nobles, 
and the people, were intended to precipitate a rupture 
which should give a pretext for French intervention, 
and perhaps prevent Henry from aiding the Emperor 
in the coming campaign. On the other hand, Henry's 
best friends, such as the Douglases, Glencairn, Maxwell, 
and others, could only counsel prudence and patience. 
The Regent Arran, they said, feared that if Mary were 
sent to England ' she would never die,' or rather that 
if she did another child would be substituted for her, 
so that, in any case, Henry might be master of Scot- 
land. If, said Maxwell, Henry was not content to let 
Mary remain in Scotland for the present, then he must 


come and take her by force. l By God's body/ quoth 
he, ( if his Majesty will prosecute it, there is no doubt 
but that he shall obtain it, for the realm is not able to 
withstand his power. 9 In vain Sadlier reproached the 
Scottish ex-prisoners for their failure to keep their 
promise. They could not, they said, go against all 
the realm ; and their countrymen were determined not 
to let their Queen go. In the meanwhile the Cardinal 
was set free, and Lennox had without opposition 
landed in Scotland, with gold and Frenchmen, and held 
his strong castle of Dumbarton. Rumours came that 
they, with their Scottish sympathisers, would attempt 
the seizure of the infant, and it was clear that if Arran 
adhered to their party the English cause in Scotland 
was lost. Henry urged the removal of the child to 
Edinburgh Castle, but that was too near England to 
suit Arran, and he found excuses for non-compliance. 

It will be seen here that many cross-currents were 
influencing events, over and above the main stream of 
policy which tended to the winning of Scotland from 
the French and Catholic connection to that of England 
and Protestantism. There were the innumerable 
family feuds which divided the Scottish nobles, the 
ambition of the Guise family, the pretensions respec- 
tively of Arran and Lennox to the heirship of the 
crown, the impatient character of Henry, and the zeal 
of religionists on both sides ; but for the moment the 
crucial point at issue was the possession of the six- 
months-old bairn, now jealously guarded in Linlith- 
gow Palace by her mother and the nobles appointed by 
parliament. The figure in the turmoil which excites 
most sympathy, in view of the documents now before 
us, is that of Arran. There was a general tendency 


at the time and since to regard him as a poor, simple, 
shifty creature, as he certainly became later, but a 
consideration of the difficulties of his position at this 
time, and the manner in which he faced them, should 
do something to rehabilitate his memory. His part 
was a hard one. He knew that Scotland was too 
weak to withstand the force of England, whilst he also 
saw that with Mary in Henry's hands his own chance 
of the heirship was gone. The Cardinal, the Queen- 
Mother, and the Catholics were strong in the country, 
and so were the Douglases and the 'English* lords. 
The domination of the former would have meant at 
that time the triumph of Lennox, and the ruin of 
Arran and the Hamilton interest, whilst the complete 
victory of Henry would have been equally disastrous 
to them. So Arran temporised as well as he might, 
even in the face of the great bribe held out to him of 
little Elizabeth Tudor's hand for his son. 

The Scottish ambassadors in England found Henry 
still wrathfully insistent upon the immediate delivery 
of the child-queen who was to marry his son, and the 
complete abandonment of the French connection by 
Scotland. Arran dared not consent, and summoned 
the nobles to Edinburgh. Even Lennox attended, 
and was nominally reconciled to his deadly foe Angus ; 
and the whole assembly adopted a new set of proposi- 
tions to be submitted to England by the Earl of 
Glencairn and Sir George Douglas, both English 
partisans. After infinite bickering, and suspicions, 
a treaty for the marriage of Mary Stuart and 
Edward Tudor, with peace between the two realms, 
was signed at Greenwich on the 1st July 154 J, by 
which the bride was to be delivered to the English at 

\ ;^ V* ^.'TTZN MART 

....^—-.^ 'j rat Trace when 


:nc SeccaC 

...» .— ^«. -. «ty to piat 

.:ivi rtm witit 

. . . •. . *x ^ - vkoitye Douglas 

..._. ^ :>c Cardinal 

^ ^ . '*•* *<** rumours on 

\ ^ n,\,> -%** nttstertng 

.^ ^ *wi** v* -ul» the 

n % .^ * % :^ut ottce more 

. ^ xx. u t s ami a meeting 

,, .\ ..** Kn^ti^h treaty. 

>. ., . t «„ oun uut 40 attempt 

^ \u*v ouk o« the country. 

. ^ . \ . . w lU*Uor> : .u vxvkr to 

• % x, '.v»u<..; ;-uc :« Cwwoc 

.. . \ ww * V^wa 

x s ^ v v • <* ^ - » ^ - IWJMt* 


on the 20th August 1543, and she assured him that 
she was as faithful as ever to the English connection. 
She was the more confident now that her daughter had 
been released by the convention of lords from the 
power of Arran, and placed in the safe custody of the 
nobles appointed by the parliament to guard her. 
Arran, she continued to assert, was the real villain of 
the piece, and she alone was the friend of England, 
desiring nothing better for her daughter than her 
conveyance to England, and her marriage with 
Edward. When Sadlier spoke slightingly of the 
Catholic lords, however, she stood up for them stoutly, 
and said that they opposed Arran only in the interest 
of the safety of their sovereign lady. Her daughter, 
she said, ' grew apace, and would soon be a woman, if 
she took after her mother,' Mary of Guise herself 
being very tall; and she showed Sadlier the child, 
' who is right fair and goodly for her age.' * 

And thus the intrigue grew. Arran himself went to 
St. Andrews ostensibly to reconcile the Cardinal to the 
ratification of the treaty. The Churchman sulked and 
refused to meet him, and was at once proclaimed a 
traitor by Arran. Both sides flew to arms, but the 
Cardinal's party had the start, and Arran could only 
pray for aid, which Henry was too suspicious of him 
to grant. But in the meantime the war between 
France and England at sea had actually commenced, 
and relations became more bitter every day. The 
Scots treaty with England had been confirmed at 
Holyrood on the 25 th August, and the Laird of 
Fyvie was sent to England to obtain Henry's ratifica- 
tion ; but Scottish opinion was now strongly suspicious 

1 Calendar, Henry VUL % vol xviii. pt. 2, p. 11. 


the age of ten years, and married to the prince when 
she was twelve, hostages in the meanwhile being given 
to England for the fulfilment of the treaty. But 
still Henry was uneasy. Lennox refused to deliver 
Dumbarton, and Stirling was held against the Regent 
by Erskine ; the Cardinal was still at liberty to plot 
against Protestantism, and Arran, as usual, was 
endeavouring to hunt with the hounds and run with 
the hare. 

News came to Henry, even, that Sir George Douglas 
and his brother Angus would rally to the Cardinal 
at the persuasion of Argyle ; there were rumours on 
the Border that the Humes and Scotts were mustering 
to raid the English marches, and worst of all, the 
Cardinal, with Huntly and his friends, were preparing 
forces to seize Mary at Linlithgow. But once more 
a hollow reconciliation was patched up, and a meeting 
of nobles summoned to ratify the English treaty. 
Henry was still shrewdly suspicious that an attempt 
would be made to convey Mary out of the country, 
and assembled his forces on the Border, in order to 
invade Scotland at the first moment that the Catholic 
party seemed aggressive. 1 Mary of Guise, who was 
really in the thick of the plot, sought again to reassure 
the English ambassador. Sadlier saw her at Stirling 

1 He had ample cause for suspicion even thus early. The copy of a 
pledge taken bv the Cardinal and his adherents when they were at 
Linlithgow (24th July), to prevent Mary's removal to England, was sent 
to England by Sadlier on the xoth August. This pledge was signed bv 
several of the ex-prisoners who had been ostensibly favourable to Englisn 
influence, and though Arran solemnly denied that he knew of it, subse- 
quent events would seem to render his statement doubtful. Mary was 
removed to Stirling on the 26th July, and a month afterwards Henry's 
brother-in-law, Suffolk, was instructed to hold himself in readiness on the 
Border to invade Scotland with x 6,000 or 20,000 men. — Hamilton Papers, 
vol. ii. 


on the 20th August 1 543, and she assured him that 
she was as faithful as ever to the English connection. 
She was the more confident now that her daughter had 
been released by the convention of lords from the 
power of Arran, and placed in the safe custody of the 
nobles appointed by the parliament to guard her. 
Arran, she continued to assert, was the real villain of 
the piece, and she alone was the friend of England, 
desiring nothing better for her daughter than her 
conveyance to England, and her marriage with 
Edward. When Sadlier spoke slightingly of the 
Catholic lords, however, she stood up for them stoutly, 
and said that they opposed Arran only in the interest 
of the safety of their sovereign lady. Her daughter, 
she said, * grew apace, and would soon be a woman, if 
she took after her mother,' Mary of Guise herself 
being very tall; and she showed Sadlier the child, 
1 who is right fair and goodly for her age.' * 

And thus the intrigue grew. Arran himself went to 
St. Andrews ostensibly to reconcile the Cardinal to the 
ratification of the treaty. The Churchman sulked and 
refused to meet him, and was at once proclaimed a 
traitor by Arran. Both sides flew to arms, but the 
Cardinal's party had the start, and Arran could only 
pray for aid, which Henry was too suspicious of him 
to grant. But in the meantime the war between 
France and England at sea had actually commenced, 
and relations became more bitter every day. The 
Scots treaty with England had been confirmed at 
Holyrood on the 25 th August, and the Laird of 
Fyvie was sent to England to obtain Henry's ratifica- 
tion ; but Scottish opinion was now strongly suspicious 

1 Calendar, Henry PIIL, vol. xviii. pt. 2, p. 11. 


of Arran's subservience to England. Scottish ships 
under French convoy had been captured at sea, and 
the whole country was straining in the leash to pre- 
serve its independence. Arran at length, beset by 
Henry's haughty demands on the one hand and the 
Cardinal's defiance on the other, bent his head before 
the storm and betrayed his paymaster. On the 3rd 
September he fled from Edinburgh and joined the 
Cardinal at Falkirk, near Stirling, where a general 
reconciliation took place with Huntly, Lennox, Mur- 
ray, Argyle, and Bothwell. There, in the ancient 
castle on the rock, he bent his knee before the Church- 
man. He had been forced to act as he had done, he 
said, by the King of England, who had urged him to 
despoil the Church and sack the monasteries. In 
humble contrition he undertook to deliver all the 
strong places to the Cardinal, but the solemn ban of 
the Church was pronounced upon him for his past 
impiety. The next day, Saturday, Arran did penance 
for his sins before the friars of Stirling, promising 
never to offend again. Then taking the sacrament he 
was formally absolved, and delivered all effective 
power to the triumphant Cardinal Beaton. 1 

On the morning of Sunday, nth September 1543, 
Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland in the chapel of 
Stirling Castle, ( with such solemnity as they do use in 
this country, which is not very costly.' Arran bore 
the crown before the infant, his rival Lennox the 
sceptre, and Argyle the sword of state. Thus Mary 
of Guise had so far won the day, for she knew now 
that her child would never marry an English prince. 
Henry was furious at the trick that had been played 

1 Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. 


upon him. Let Douglas and his friends seize the 
Queen by force, he urged ; but, above all, let them 
watch that she was not spirited away to France, and 
another babe put in her place. ' The falsehood of the 
world is such, and the compasses such of that Cardinal 
and the Queen-Dowager, as if things be not specially 
foreseen and provided for in time, they will grow to 
further inconvenience/ 1 But Stirling was strong, and 
with the doubtful exception of the Douglases, Scots- 
men were determined that their Queen should remain 
where she was, and the Dowager rarely lost sight of 
her child for an hour. 

Affairs went from bad to worse. French ships, 
with men, arms, and money came to Lennox at Dum- 
barton ; legates brought powers to raise ecclesiastical 
subsidies in Scotland, and the Pope's blessing to the 
Cardinal ; and notwithstanding the studied moderation 
of the latter towards England, it was made quite clear 
to Henry that he did not intend to hold by the treaty 
of marriage and alliance. The only remedy that 
Henry could readily suggest was the forcible seizure 
of the Cardinal himself, which in the circumstances 
was quite impracticable. The presence of the French 
ambassador La Brosse, and of the papal legate 
Grimani, was particularly disconcerting to the English 
party. Grimani was nearly kidnapped by Angus, at 
Glasgow, and escaped to Stirling in disguise before 
dawn one morning, warned just in time by a messenger 
from Mary of Guise. The treaty with England was 
obviously crumbling, and the two countries rapidly 
drifting into war. All Scotland, but a few Douglas 
adherents, were in favour of friendship with France ; 

1 Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. 


and Sadlier himself was in hourly danger, though 
hidden away in the strong Angus castle of Tan- 

But for no great length of time was it possible for 
Lennox and Arran to be on the same side. The King 
of England had much to offer, and though Lennox 
had come to Scotland with the French influence at his 
back, he was willing to throw his weight on to the 
other scale if the English king would give him his 
niece, Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Angus 
and Margaret Tudor, Queen-Dowager of Scotland, 
for his wife, and grant him a revenue similar to that 
which he would lose in France. 1 Whilst this intrigue 
was still in progress, the Cardinal's parliament met in 
Edinburgh (nth December 1543) and declared that 
as Henry had not ratified the treaty within the 
stipulated time, the agreement made with England 
was at an end. Nor was this all. Jacques de la 
Brosse and Jacques de Mesnaige, councillor of the 
parliament of Rouen, were welcomed by the assembled 
nobles as representatives sent by Francis 1. to request 
a renewal of the ancient alliance between France and 
Scotland ; Cardinal Beaton and his friends being 
authorised by the parliament to conclude an agree- 
ment with them. On the 15th December 1543 the 

1 A counter intrigue to this was started by the Cardinal (November 
1543), in order to seduce Lennox from the English connection. It was 
proposed that Arran should divorce his wife and marry Mary of Guise j 
and, whilst remaining nominally Regent, should hand the real power to 
Lennox, who was to be betrothed to the infant Mary: 'And so they 
shall be friends and join together as one party with France against 
England.* The proposal was probably never anything but a feint; 
but, patriotism apart, it was obviously less favourable to Lennox 
than his immediate marriage with a beautiful bride of full age, well 
dowered, and in near succession to the crown of England (Hamilton 
Papers, vol. ii.). 


new treaty with France was signed, and Scotland once 
again threw in her lot with her old friend and defied 
her ancestral enemy. 

Notwithstanding the attempts of the Scots still to 
temporise with Henry by suggesting that Mary's 
marriage with the Prince of Wales might after all 
take place when the children grew to fit age ; 1 and 
the French suggestions to the Emperor that they were 
prepared, and able, to divert Henry from his alliance 
with Charles, by causing Mary and her mother to be 
conveyed to England with the support of Guise/ it 
was quite obvious to die English king that he would 
have to crush Scotland by force before he could safely 
send his troops across the sea to join his ally in con- 
quering France. Hertford's sanguinary invasion of 
Scotland by sea was therefor e effected in the spring. 
Arran and die Cardinal, taken by surprise, were beaten 
and put to flight bet w een Leath and Edinburgh early 
in May. 1 The Scottah capital made such terms as 
it might with the conqaeror, but was pillaged aad 
ravaged, as was Lekh ; and all the country round was 
wasted by ire tad word- The two principal Scottish 
ships of war were ca pt u r ed is harbour, uki then 
Hertford and ms army, leaving bcooand ummftg and 
powerless fir harm, but wdinigb united now it* 
indignation again* England, returned inane, oeady 
to lend to the Emperor their aid in overrunning 
France. Lcamcac, almost alone of the Scottish notd**, 

* Fnl wmM d" Ifci iMywr few* ttwffcff! m* K**4,*** *. 

Tfi—ff riTT *f — , — ' — t~ tee fma* y i i* <** ** * , m* u* 

uc4 ^«. Ife fatt Uvmvc m, » f*v€k ¥ ye**** ***** um** 
I 1 irt irim ^m^w< idi **tam> Hmmtm **§***,**. l±+#* 



and Sadlier himself wa8 in hourly danger, though 
hidden away in the strong Angus castle of Tan- 

But for no great length of time was it possible for 
Lennox and Arran to be on the same side. The King 
of England had much to offer, and though Lennox 
had come to Scotland with the French influence at his 
back, he was willing to throw his weight on to the 
other scale if the English king would give him his 
niece, Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Angus 
and Margaret Tudor, Queen-Dowager of Scotland, 
for his wife, and grant him a revenue similar to that 
which he would lose in France. 1 Whilst this intrigue 
was still in progress, the Cardinal's parliament met in 
Edinburgh (nth December 1543) and declared that 
as Henry had not ratified the treaty within the 
stipulated time, the agreement made with England 
was at an end. Nor was this all. Jacques de la 
Brosse and Jacques de Mesnaige, councillor of the 
parliament of Rouen, were welcomed by the assembled 
nobles as representatives sent by Francis 1. to request 
a renewal of the ancient alliance between France and 
Scotland ; Cardinal Beaton and his friends being 
authorised by the parliament to conclude an agree- 
ment with them. On the 15th December 1543 the 

1 A counter intrigue to this was started by the Cardinal (November 
1543), in order to seduce Lennox from the English connection. It was 
proposed that Arran should divorce his wife and marry Mary of Guise $ 
and, whilst remaining nominally Regent, should hand the real power to 
Lennox, who was to be betrothed to the infant Mary: 'And so they 
shall be friends and join together as one party with France against 
England/ The proposal was probably never anything but a feint; 
but, patriotism apart, it was obviously less favourable to Lennox 
than his immediate marriage with a beautiful bride of full age, well 
dowered, and in near succession to the crown of England (Hamilton 
Papers, vol. ii.). 


new treaty with France was signed, and Scotland once 
again threw in her lot with her old friend and defied 
her ancestral enemy. 

Notwithstanding the attempts of the Scots still to 
temporise with Henry by suggesting that Mary's 
marriage with the Prince of Wales might after all 
take place when the children grew to fit age ; 1 and 
the French suggestions to the Emperor that they were 
prepared, and able, to divert Henry from his alliance 
with Charles, by causing Mary and her mother to be 
conveyed to England with the support of Guise, 2 it 
was quite obvious to the English king that he would 
have to crush Scotland by force before he could safely 
send his troops across the sea to join his ally in con- 
quering France. Hertford's sanguinary invasion of 
Scotland by sea was therefore effected in the spring. 
Arran and the Cardinal, taken by surprise, were beaten 
and put to flight between Leith and Edinburgh early 
in May. 8 The Scottish capital made such terms as 
it might with the conqueror, but was pillaged and 
ravaged, as was Leith ; and all the country round was 
wasted by fire and sword. The two principal Scottish 
ships of war were captured in harbour, and then 
Hertford and his army, leaving Scotland bleeding and 
powerless for harm, but wellnigh united now in 
indignation against England, returned home, ready 
to lend to the Emperor their aid in overrunning 
France. Lennox, almost alone of the Scottish nobles, 

1 Spanish State Paters, Henry V11L % vol. vii. p. 34. * Ibid, o. 60. 

• Full accounts or the engagement, from Hertford and Russell, are in 
Spamsk State Papers, vol. viii. (now in the press). The Cardinal, we are 
told, appeared upon the field dressed in a frock of yellow velvet slashed 
and puffed with white spangled silk (see also Hamilton Papers, and Teulet 
(Bannatyne Club), Papters fEtat). 


now sided with England ; for even George Douglas was 
said to be l thick with the Cardinal ' ; and the young earl 
was betrothed to Lady Margaret Douglas, Henry's 
niece, in June, binding himself thenceforward to hold 
his person and his castles at Henry's orders. But he 
undertook something more important still : namely, 
that he would * travail to the uttermost of his wit and 
power to get her (Mary's) person into his own keep- 
ing, and so deliver her forthwith into his Highness' 
hands with all diligence possible, to be nourished 
and educated at his Majesty's order,' 1 The child 
herself had been conveyed to Dunkeld when Hert- 
ford and his troops had approached Stirling, and there, 
under the watchful care of her mother, she grew 
and throve, whilst Scotland, nominally at war with 
England and the Emperor, could only look on at 
the contest and pray tor the victory of her friends 
the French. 

Whilst Henry was still at war (January 1545) 
news came to him that the Governor (Arran), the 
Cardinal, and the other lords, had agreed to give their 
Queen to the French king to marry, and had signed 
and sealed a bond to send both queens into France 
next spring, 2 and Henry retaliated by constant forays 
across the Border. More than once Arran sent to 
the Emperor to beg for the inclusion of Scotland 
in his peace with France, and to Francis pleading 
for aid to withstand English attacks, or the Scots 
would after all be obliged to come to terms with 
England. 8 Montgomerie (M. de L'Orges) was sent 

1 Rymer, xv. * Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. 

* Spanish State Papers, vol. viii. (in the press), and DiurnaU of 


from France to Dumbarton with a small force ; but 
Francis had his hands full, 1 and could not effectually 
protect his ally, Hertford's destructive raids in Scot- 
land continuing unchecked throughout the autumn, 
with the assistance of the foreign mercenaries recruited 
for the purpose. 

In these circumstances Arran and many of the Scots 
lords began to waver again. c There is no talk of a 
great war between the English and the Scots : on the 
contrary it looks as if there was some sort of con- 
nivance between them. The Scots will not move 
unless money from France causes them to do so, for 
they much prefer to receive French aid in money 
rather than men * ; 2 and fresh hints were thrown out 
of a marriage between Mary and Arran's heir. * In 
good truth it appears to be the most probable arrange- 
ment, for the Scots love to be ruled by their own 
countrymen rather than by a foreigner. Besides 
which, such a marriage would probably avoid the 
danger that the son referred to might at some future 
time raise opposition to the princess, he being a very 
near heir to the crown. However, as the girl is an 
infant, matters may change/ 8 They did change, and 
promptly. Cardinal Beaton was murdered at St. 
Andrews at the end of May 1546, whilst yet the 
peace negotiations between Henry and Francis were 
in progress ; and Arran, to his secret satisfaction, 
found himself relieved of the burden of a coadjutor 
more powerful than himself, whilst Henry could 

1 So hardly driven was Francis, that he was forced to strike a special 
debased coinage of 150,000 crowns to send to Scotland to pay the troops 
taken thither by Montgomerie (Spanish State Papers, vol. viii. p. 147, in 
the press). » Ibid. * Ibid. 


and Sadlier himself was in hourly danger, though 
hidden away in the strong Angus castle of Tan- 

But for no great length of time was it possible for 
Lennox and Arran to be on the same side. The King 
of England had much to offer, and though Lennox 
had come to Scotland with the French influence at his 
back, he was willing to throw his weight on to the 
other scale if the English king would give him his 
niece, Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Angus 
and Margaret Tudor, Queen-Dowager of Scotland, 
for his wife, and grant him a revenue similar to that 
which he would lose in France. 1 Whilst this intrigue 
was still in progress, the Cardinal's parliament met in 
Edinburgh (nth December 1543) and declared that 
as Henry had not ratified the treaty within the 
stipulated time, the agreement made with England 
was at an end. Nor was this all. Jacques de la 
Brosse and Jacques de Mesnaige, councillor of the 
parliament of Rouen, were welcomed by the assembled 
nobles as representatives sent by Francis 1. to request 
a renewal of the ancient alliance between France and 
Scotland ; Cardinal Beaton and his friends being 
authorised by the parliament to conclude an agree- 
ment with them. On the 15th December 1543 the 

1 A counter intrigue to this was started by the Cardinal (November 
1543), in order to seduce Lennox from the English connection. It was 
proposed that Arran should divorce his wife and marry Mary of Guise j 
and, whilst remaining nominally Regent, should hand the real power to 
Lennox, who was to be betrothed to the infant Mary : < And so they 
shall be friends and join together as one party with France against 
England/ The proposal was probably never anything but a feint; 
but, patriotism apart, it was obviously less favourable to Lennox 
than his immediate marriage with a beautiful bride of full age, well 
dowered, and in near succession to the crown of England (Hamilton 
Papers, vol. ii.). 


new treaty with France was signed, and Scotland once 
again threw in her lot with her old friend and defied 
her ancestral enemy. 

Notwithstanding the attempts of the Scots still to 
temporise with Henry by suggesting that Mary's 
marriage with the Prince of Wales might after all 
take place when the children grew to fit age ; * and 
the French suggestions to the Emperor that they were 
prepared, and able, to divert Henry from his alliance 
with Charles, by causing Mary and her mother to be 
conveyed to England with the support of Guise, 2 it 
was quite obvious to the English king that he would 
have to crush Scotland by force before he could safely 
send his troops across the sea to join his ally in con- 
quering France. Hertford's sanguinary invasion of 
Scotland by sea was therefore effected in the spring. 
Arran and the Cardinal, taken by surprise, were beaten 
and put to flight between Leith and Edinburgh early 
in May. 8 The Scottish capital made such terms as 
it might with the conqueror, but was pillaged and 
ravaged, as was Leith ; and all the country round was 
wasted by fire and sword. The two principal Scottish 
ships of war were captured in harbour, and then 
Hertford and his army, leaving Scotland bleeding and 
powerless for harm, but wellnigh united now in 
indignation against England, returned home, ready 
to lend to the Emperor their aid in overrunning 
France. Lennox, almost alone of the Scottish nobles, 

1 Spanish State Paters, Henry FUL, vol. vii. p. 34. * Ibid, p. 60. 

8 Full accounts of the engagement, from Hertford and Russell, are in 

Spanish State Papers, vol. viii. (now in the press). The Cardinal, we are 

, told, appeared upon the field dressed in a frock of yellow velvet slashed 

and puffed with white spangled silk (see also Hamilton Papers, and Teulet 

(Bannatvne Club), Papters tTEtat). 


now sided with England ; for even George Douglas was 
said to be ' thick with the Cardinal ' ; and the young earl 
was betrothed to Lady Margaret Douglas, Henry's 
niece, in June, binding himself thenceforward to hold 
his person and his castles at Henry's orders. But he 
undertook something more important still : namely, 
that he would * travail to the uttermost of his wit and 
power to get her (Mary's) person into his own keep- 
ing, and so deliver her forthwith into his Highness' 
hands with all diligence possible, to be nourished 
and educated at his Majesty's order.' 1 The child 
herself had been conveyed to Dunkeld when Hert- 
ford and his troops had approached Stirling, and there, 
under the watchful care of her mother, she grew 
and throve, whilst Scotland, nominally at war with 
England and the Emperor, could only look on at 
the contest and pray for the victory of her friends 
the French. 

Whilst Henry was still at war (January 1545) 
news came to him that the Governor (Arran), the 
Cardinal, and the other lords, had agreed to give their 
Queen to the French king to marry, and had signed 
and sealed a bond to send both queens into France 
next spring, 2 and Henry retaliated by constant forays 
across the Border. More than once Arran sent to 
the Emperor to beg for the inclusion of Scotland 
in his peace with France, and to Francis pleading 
for aid to withstand English attacks, or the Scots 
would after all be obliged to come to terms with 
England. 3 Montgomerie (M. de L'Orges) was sent 

1 Rymer, xv. * Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. 

8 Spanish State Papers, vol. viii. (in the press), and Diurnall of 


from France to Dumbarton with a small force ; but 
Francis had his hands full, 1 and could not effectually 
protect his ally, Hertford's destructive raids in Scot- 
land continuing unchecked throughout the autumn, 
with the assistance of the foreign mercenaries recruited 
for the purpose. 

In these circumstances Arran and many of the Scots 
lords began to waver again. * There is no talk of a 
great war between the English and the Scots : on the 
contrary it looks as if there was some sort of con- 
nivance between them. The Scots will not move 
unless money from France causes them to do so, for 
they much prefer to receive French aid in money 
rather than men * ; 2 and fresh hints were thrown out 
of a marriage between Mary and Arran's heir. * In 
good truth it appears to be the most probable arrange- 
ment, for the Scots love to be ruled by their own 
countrymen rather than by a foreigner. Besides 
which, such a marriage would probably avoid the 
danger that the son referred to might at some future 
time raise opposition to the princess, he being a very 
near heir to the crown. However, as the girl is an 
infant, matters may change/ 8 They did change, and 
promptly. Cardinal Beaton was murdered at St. 
Andrews at the end of May 1546, whilst yet the 
peace negotiations between Henry and Francis were 
in progress; and Arran, to his secret satisfaction, 
found himself relieved of the burden of a coadjutor 
more powerful than himself, whilst Henry could 

1 So hardly driven was Francis, that he was forced to strike a special 
debased coinage of 1 50,000 crowns to send to Scotland to pay the troops 
taken thither by Montgomerie (Spanish State Papers, vol. viii. p. 147, in 
the press). » Ibid. * ibid. 


hardly be expected to look with disapproval upon an 
act which had removed from his path the strongest 
Scotsman who favoured France and the papacy. 

But the murder of the Cardinal also banished any 
lingering hope that might be entertained by Arran of 
securing the hand of Mary for his own son, because 
with the disappearance of the only man who could 
present Scotland with a united front to speak for 
herself, the disposal of the young Queen in marriage 
became a pawn to be used in the diplomatic contest 
between England and France. There had been a talk 
of marrying Prince Edward to a niece of the Emperor ; 
and to counteract any such idea Francis undertook, 
as a part of the peace stipulations with Henry, to 
promote the marriage of the Prince of Wales with 
Mary Stuart. That he ever intended to do so is in 
the highest degree improbable. When, indeed, Henry 
became too pressing about it, saying that the stipula- 
tion was in fact an agreement that the marriage should 
take place, Francis replied that he did not look upon 
it in that light, as the child was too young yet to 
speak for herself ; and French emissaries were sent to 
Scotland to consult Arran, and obtain from him a 
confirmation of the French view. To the annoyance 
of Francis, Arran and his Council replied that they 
submitted the matter entirely to him. * He had 
expected another answer, but in the face of it he could 
not avoid making a promise that when the Princess 
of Scotland reached a proper age he would do his best 
to incline her to such a marriage. The people here 
(Paris), Sire, insist that these promises do not bind 
them to anything, but even they confess that the King 
of England will endeavour to hold them to the con- 


dition.' l So uneasy was Francis at the situation into 
which he had been forced, that he obtained for Mary 
of Guise assurance from Rome that any pledge she 
might be obliged to take in the name of her infant 
daughter for the marriage of the latter with the 
English prince could be subsequently nullified. 

With infinite humiliation on the part of the Scots, 
Henry, almost on his deathbed, granted to them their 
nominal inclusion in the peace treaty with France ; 
but aggression never ceased on the Border, and the 
distrust of Arran's hobnobbing with France increased. 
The murderers of Beaton still held the castle of St. 
Andrews against the Regent Arran ; and, whether 
Henry was an accomplice of the crime or not, he 
powerfully aided the criminals with means to defy 
Arran. The latter had his reasons to rejoice at the 
disappearance of Beaton, but his own heir was held by 
the murderers in St. Andrews, and their contempt of 
his authority with English connivance, together with 
the violent reproaches of Mary of Guise, spurred him 
into an attempt to capture the place by siege. 

On Henry's death Somerset was as anxious as the 
King had been to secure Mary for his nephew Edward; 
and knowing that a great French force was being sent 
by sea to Scotland, he, too, mustered his army with a 
large number of foreign mercenaries to enforce the 
treaty for Mary's marriage. Before he took the field 
the French army had landed, captured St. Andrews, 
and levelled the fortress to the ground (August 1547), 
and once more England and France joined issue on 
Scottish ground for the possession of their exhausted 

1 Spanish State Papers, Henry Fill, vol. viii. (in the press). 


Somerset's inept three weeks' rush into Scotland, 
and his chance victory at Musselburgh (Pinkey), 
which he failed to follow up effectively, only drew the 
Scots and French closer together. Young Mary was 
hurried away to safety at beautiful Inchmahome, in 
the middle of September, a few days after Pinkey was 
fought; 1 but intrigue was still resorted to for the 
purpose of capturing her, since it was seen to be im- 
possible by English force alone. The Scottish lords, 
with Sir George Douglas at their head, were ready, 
one after the other, to hold their itching palms for 
English bribes, to haggle for maintenance and high 
marriages in England, and to suggest plans for the 
seizure of their Queen ; but those who were not false 
in their offers were unable to fulfil them. Whilst 
the five-year-old child was planting her gardens and 
plying her needle, all unconscious of the plotting for 
her dainty litde body, Mary of Guise was striving her 
utmost to turn to the advantage of the French connec- 
tion the present hatred of the Scots against England 
arising out of Somerset's invasion. 

Early in November, only seven weeks after the battle 
of Pinkey, a meeting of nobles in Stirling discussed 
the desirability of sending Mary to France ; and in 
January 1 548 Arran finally burnt his boats and embraced 
the French cause. He bound himself to summon a 
parliament which should consent to the marriage 
of Mary with the infant Dauphin Francis, to send 
the bride at once to France to be brought up, and to 
surrender to the French king the Scottish fortresses 
to hold in gage. For this Arran was to be protected 
and favoured, and to be made a French duke. The 

1 Bishop of Ross's History of Scotland (Bannatyne Club). 


Queen-Mother still worked hard in winning nobles 
to her cause, and when the parliament was assembled 
early in July at a nunnery outside Haddington, in the 
midst of the besieging French army under Marshal 
D'Esse, there was no dissentient voice raised to the 
French demands for the marriage and custody of the 
little Queen. Mary was at the time safe in Dum- 
barton Castle, and no time was lost in making pre- 
parations for her deportation. Whilst the French 
fleet from the Forth was cleverly evading Somerset's 
cruisers by sailing round the north of Scotland to 
Dumbarton, Mary of Guise travelled from Hadding- 
ton to bid farewell to her child. As she left the 
besieging camp she stood for a moment at the back 
of the nunnery to gaze upon the town, when the 
English gunners getting their range, a tempest of 
cannon-shot fell upon her party, killing many of her 
courtiers by her side. 1 Swooning with emotion and 
sorrow, she pursued her way to the west. 

With such state and splendour as Scotland could 
afford Mary was surrounded during the last days she 
was to spend as a child in her own realm. The two 
lords who had hitherto protected her so well, Erskine 
and Livingstone, were still with her and Lady Fleming 
her step-aunt, who had cared for her education so far. 
Many girls and boys of about her own age, daughters 
and sons of Scottish nobles, formed her juvenile court, 
and especially four young Maries, Fleming, Living- 
stone, Seton, and Beaton, were her maids and constant 
companions. Two at least of her bastard half-brothers 
accompanied her on her voyage : Robert Stuart, Abbot 
of Holyrood, and his younger brother the Prior of 

1 Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. 


Somerset's inept three weeks' rush into Scotland, 
and his chance victory at Musselburgh (Pinkey), 
which he failed to follow up effectively, only drew the 
Scots and French closer together. Young Mary was 
hurried away to safety at beautiful Inchmahome, in 
the middle of September, a few days after Pinkey was 
fought ; * but intrigue was still resorted to for the 
purpose of capturing her, since it was seen to be im- 
possible by English force alone. The Scottish lords, 
with Sir George Douglas at their head, were ready, 
one after the other, to hold their itching palms for 
English bribes, to haggle for maintenance and high 
marriages in England, and to suggest plans for the 
seizure of their Queen ; but those who were not false 
in their offers were unable to fulfil them. Whilst 
the five-year-old child was planting her gardens and 
plying her needle, all unconscious of the plotting for 
her dainty little body, Mary of Guise was striving her 
utmost to turn to the advantage of the French connec- 
tion the present hatred of the Scots against England 
arising out of Somerset's invasion. 

Early in November, only seven weeks after the battle 
of Pinkey, a meeting of nobles in Stirling discussed 
the desirability of sending Mary to France ; and in 
January 1 548 Arran finally burnt his boats and embraced 
the French cause. He bound himself to summon a 
parliament which should consent to the marriage 
of Mary with the infant Dauphin Francis, to send 
the bride at once to France to be brought up, and to 
surrender to the French king the Scottish fortresses 
to hold in gage. For this Arran was to be protected 
and favoured, and to be made a French duke. The 

1 Bishop of Ros* v "" c Scotland (Bannatyne Club). 


Queen-Mother still worked hard in winning nobles 
to her cause, and when the parliament was assembled 
early in July at a nunnery outside Haddington, in the 
midst of the besieging French army under Marshal 
D'Esse, there was no dissentient voice raised to the 
French demands for the marriage and custody of the 
little Queen. Mary was at the time safe in Dum- 
barton Castle, and no time was lost in making pre- 
parations for her deportation. Whilst the French 
fleet from the Forth was cleverly evading Somerset's 
cruisers by sailing round the north of Scotland to 
Dumbarton, Mary of Guise travelled from Hadding- 
ton to bid farewell to her child. As she left the 
besieging camp she stood for a moment at the back 
of the nunnery to gaze upon the town, when the 
English gunners getting their range, a tempest of 
cannon-shot fell upon her party, killing many of her 
courtiers by her side. 1 Swooning with emotion and 
sorrow, she pursued her way to the west. 

With such state and splendour as Scotland could 
afford Mary was surrounded during the last days she 
was to spend as a child in her own realm. The two 
lords who had hitherto protected her so well, Erskine 
and Livingstone, were still with her and Lady Fleming 
her step-aunt, who had cared for her education so far. 
Many girls and boys of about her own age, daughters 
and sons of Scottish nobles, formed her juvenile court, 
and especially four young Maries, Fleming, Living- 
stone, Seton, and Beaton, were her maids and constant 
companions. Two at least of her bastard half-brothers 

-oir on her voyage : Robert Stuart, Abbot 

nger brother the Prior of 

CT7, VOL U* 


Somerset's inept three weeks' rush into Scotland, 
and his chance victory at Musselburgh (Pinkey), 
which he failed to follow up effectively, only drew the 
Scots and French closer together. Young Mary was 
hurried away to safety at beautiful Inchmahome, in 
the middle of September, a few days after Pinkey was 
fought; 1 but intrigue was still resorted to for the 
purpose of capturing her, since it was seen to be im- 
possible by English force alone. The Scottish lords, 
with Sir George Douglas at their head, were ready, 
one after the other, to hold their itching palms for 
English bribes, to haggle for maintenance and high 
marriages in England, and to suggest plans for the 
seizure of their Queen ; but those who were not false 
in their offers were unable to fulfil them. Whilst 
the five-year-old child was planting her gardens and 
plying her needle, all unconscious of the plotting for 
her dainty little body, Mary of Guise was striving her 
utmost to turn to the advantage of the French connec- 
tion the present hatred of the Scots against England 
arising out of Somerset's invasion. 

Early in November, only seven weeks after the battle 
of Pinkey, a meeting of nobles in Stirling discussed 
the desirability of sending Mary to France ; and in 
January 1 548 Arran finally burnt his boats and embraced 
the French cause. He bound himself to summon a 
parliament which should consent to the marriage 
of Mary with the infant Dauphin Francis, to send 
the bride at once to France to be brought up, and to 
surrender to the French king the Scottish fortresses 
to hold in gage. For this Arran was to be protected 
and favoured, and to be made a French duke. The 

1 Bishop of Ross's History of Scotland (Bannatyne Club). 


Queen-Mother still worked hard in winning nobles 
to her cause, and when the parliament was assembled 
early in July at a nunnery outside Haddington, in the 
midst of the besieging French army under Marshal 
D'Esse, there was no dissentient voice raised to the 
French demands for the marriage and custody of the 
little Queen. Mary was at the time safe in Dum- 
barton Castle, and no time was lost in making pre- 
parations for her deportation. Whilst the French 
fleet from the Forth was cleverly evading Somerset's 
cruisers by sailing round the north of Scotland to 
Dumbarton, Mary of Guise travelled from Hadding- 
ton to bid farewell to her child. As she left the 
besieging camp she stood for a moment at the back 
of the nunnery to gaze upon the town, when the 
English gunners getting their range, a tempest of 
cannon-shot fell upon her party, killing many of her 
courtiers by her side. 1 Swooning with emotion and 
sorrow, she pursued her way to the west. 

With such state and splendour as Scodand could 
afford Mary was surrounded during the last days she 
was to spend as a child in her own realm. The two 
lords who had hitherto protected her so well, Erskine 
and Livingstone, were still with her and Lady Fleming 
her step-aunt, who had cared for her education so far. 
Many girls and boys of about her own age, daughters 
and sons of Scottish nobles, formed her juvenile court, 
and especially four young Maries, Fleming, Living- 
stone, Seton, and Beaton, were her maids and constant 
companions. Two at least of her bastard half-brothers 
accompanied her on her voyage : Robert Stuart, Abbot 
of Holyrood, and his younger brother the Prior of 

1 Hamilton Papers* vol. ii. 


Somerset's inept three weeks 9 rush into Scotland, 
and his chance victory at Musselburgh (Pinkey), 
which he failed to follow up effectively, only drew the 
Scots and French closer together. Young Mary was 
hurried away to safety at beautiful Inchmahome, in 
the middle of September, a few days after Pinkey was 
fought; 1 but intrigue was still resorted to for the 
purpose of capturing her, since it was seen to be im- 
possible by English force alone. The Scottish lords, 
with Sir George Douglas at their head, were ready, 
one after the other, to hold their itching palms for 
English bribes, to haggle for maintenance and high 
marriages in England, and to suggest plans for the 
seizure of their Queen ; but those who were not false 
in their offers were unable to fulfil them. Whilst 
the five-year-old child was planting her gardens and 
plying her needle, all unconscious of the plotting for 
her dainty little body, Mary of Guise was striving her 
utmost to turn to the advantage of the French connec- 
tion the present hatred of the Scots against England 
arising out of Somerset's invasion. 

Early in November, only seven weeks after the battle 
of Pinkey, a meeting of nobles in Stirling discussed 
the desirability of sending Mary to France ; and in 
January 1 548 Arran finally burnt his boats and embraced 
the French cause. He bound himself to summon a 
parliament which should consent to the marriage 
of Mary with the infant Dauphin Francis, to send 
the bride at once to France to be brought up, and to 
surrender to the French king the Scottish fortresses 
to hold in gage. For this Arran was to be protected 
and favoured, and to be made a French duke. The 

1 Bishop of Ross's History of Scotland (Bannatyne Club). 


Queen-Mother still worked hard in winning nobles 
to her cause, and when the parliament was assembled 
early in July at a nunnery outside Haddington, in the 
midst of the besieging French army under Marshal 
D'Esse, there was no dissentient voice raised to the 
French demands for the marriage and custody of the 
little Queen. Mary was at the time safe in Dum- 
barton Castle, and no time was lost in making pre- 
parations for her deportation. Whilst the French 
fleet from the Forth was cleverly evading Somerset's 
cruisers by sailing round the north of Scotland to 
Dumbarton, Mary of Guise travelled from Hadding- 
ton to bid farewell to her child. As she left the 
besieging camp she stood for a moment at the back 
of the nunnery to gaze upon the town, when the 
English gunners getting their range, a tempest of 
cannon-shot fell upon her party, killing many of her 
courtiers by her side. 1 Swooning with emotion and 
sorrow, she pursued her way to the west. 

With such state and splendour as Scotland could 
afford Mary was surrounded during the last days she 
was to spend as a child in her own realm. The two 
lords who had hitherto protected her so well, Erskine 
and Livingstone, were still with her and Lady Fleming 
her step-aunt, who had cared for her education so far. 
Many girls and boys of about her own age, daughters 
and sons of Scottish nobles, formed her juvenile court, 
and especially four young Maries, Fleming, Living- 
stone, Seton, and Beaton, were her maids and constant 
companions. Two at least of her bastard half-brothers 
accompanied her on her voyage : Robert Stuart, Abbot 
of Holyrood, and his younger brother the Prior of 

1 Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. 


Coldingham ; but the eldest James Stuart, Prior of 
St. Andrews, who so profoundly influenced her after- 
life, remained with another brother for a time longer 
in Scotland. 1 

In the splendidly appointed galley of the King of 
France, thus gaily attended, tiny Mary Stuart, with her 
dazzling fair skin and her shining yellow hair, sweet 
and demure, we are told, in her baby grace, sailed 
out of the Clyde in the first days of August 1548, the 
betrothed bride of the heir of France. She was not 
yet six years old, but already she had been thrice 
disposed of in marriage : to Edward Tudor, to James 
Hamilton, and to Francis de Valois, in addition to the 
several less formal suggestions that had been brought 
forward for her hand. 2 Her realm, it was even thus 
early seen, was to be the poise whose shifting or stand- 
ing should decide the final balance of European power, 
disturbed by the Reformation. The disposal of the 
little Queen by one or the other of the rivals was 
regarded, according to the ideas of the time, as to a 
great extent the disposal of the nation whose nominal 
head she was. What some of the wisest of contem- 
porary statesmen failed as yet to see, was that in the 
proportion that free religious inquiry upon which the 
Reformation rested became stronger, the power of 
the sovereign to dispose of the thoughts and lives 
of subjects dwindled. France seemed when Mary 
Stuart sailed in the King's galley to have won the 

1 Hamilton Papers, vol. ii. Henry Jones to Somerset, 9th August 1 548. 
The same writer says : ' The old Queen doth lament the young Queen's 
departure, and marvels that she heareth nothing from her/ It is difficult 
to see how she could have heard so soon, as the squadron can hardly have 
sailed more than a day or two before. 

* The Earls of Lennox and Kildare, a Danish prince, etc. 



game, and to hold Scotland thenceforward in the 
hollow of her hand, because Mary was to be Catholic 
and French. But with John Knox thundering for 
freedom from the Roman harlot, and with English 
gold encouraging Scottish religious emancipation and 
impatience of restraint, the symbol remained in the 
hand of France, but the reality slipped away. 



Mary and her grandmother — Her education — Mary as a factor in French 
politics — Mary as a child — Cardinal Lorraine's care of her — His influ- 
ence on her character— Her Latin letters — A separate household given 
her — Diane de Poictiers and Catharine de Medici— Suggested marriage 
with Courtnay — Brantome's description of Mary at fifteen years — Ron- 
sard's and Du Bellay's poems — Description of the Dauphin Francis — 
His love for Mary — The tone of the French court — Mary's betrayal of 
Scotland at her marriage— Description of the wedding — Progress of 
affairs in Scotland— Catholic alliance between France and Spain. 

The foot of Mary Stuart first touched the soil of 
France on the 14th August, at the little port of 
Roscoff, in Brittany, 1 Escorted by a body of the 
famous Scots guard of the kings of France, the little 
Queen slowly travelled from chateau to chateau, by 
Morlaix and Nantes, to Saint Germain-en-Laye, being 
met on the way thither by her grandmother, Antoinette 
de Bourbon, Duchess of Guise, whom Henry 11. had 
requested to organise the household and education of 
the little stranger. The letters of the staid old 
Duchess to her daughter, Mary of Guise, on the 
occasion, sound a human note that rings true across 
the centuries, and tells us more than reams of diplo- 

1 Many authorities give Brest as the place, but for several reasons I con- 
sider that the balance of proof is in favour of Roscoff, where a chapel to 
commemorate the event was soon afterwards erected, the ruins of which 
still exist. 


matic correspondence would do. The Duchess writes 
on the 3rd September 1548 : C I was more glad than 
I can say to learn of the arrival of our little Queen 
in as good health as you could wish her to have. I 
pity the sorrow that I think you must have felt during 
her voyage, and I hope you had news of her safe arrival, 
and also the pain that her departure must have caused 
you. You have had so little joy in the world, and 
pain and trouble have been so often your lot, that 
methinks you hardly know now what pleasure means. 
But still you must hope that this absence and loss of 
your child will at least mean rest and repose for the 
little creature, with honour and greater welfare than 
ever before, please God. I hope to see you yet some- 
times before I die. . . . But believe me, in the mean- 
while I will take care that our little Queen shall be 
treated as well as you can desire for her. I am 
starting this week, God willing, to meet her and 
conduct her to St. Germain, with the Dauphin. I 
shall stay with her there for a few days to arrange her 
little affairs, and until she grows somewhat used to the 
Dauphin and his sisters. 1 Lady Fleming/ the Duchess 
continues, * will, if the King allows it, remain with the 
child, as she knows her ways ; and Mademoiselle 
Curel will take charge of her French education. Two 
gentlemen and other attendants are to be appointed to 
wait upon the little Queen, and her dress and appoint- 
ments shall be fitting to her rank.' 

Mary arrived in France at a favourable time for 
female education. The new learning for ladies, that 

1 Bakarres Papers. The Dauphin, of course, was the child Francis, 
destined husband of Mary, and the two princesses, Elizabeth, afterwards 
third wife of Philip il, and Claude, afterwards Duchess of Lorraine, 


had become fashionable throughout Europe, found its 
noblest centre in the court of Francis i. and Henry n. ; 
and the great movement that gave to England such 
erudite ladies as Queen Elizabeth, Lady Jane Grey, 
Lady Bacon, and Lady Cecil, gave to France the elder 
Princess Margaret de Valois, Renee of France, Duchess 
of Ferrara, Jeanne D'Albret, Mary Stuart, and her 
fellow-pupils the Princesses Elizabeth and Claude. It 
is certain that the most scrupulous care was exercised 
to educate Mary worthily. She was surrounded in the 
convent where she and her fellow-princesses were 
taught, for the first few months of her life in France, 
by gentle and wise influences alone ; and later, when 
she lived with the other royal children in Henry's 
court, no laxity of conduct or coarseness of speech was 
allowed before her. That the tone of French society 
at the time was as licentious as well could be, and that 
the influence of the Queen, Catharine de Medici, 
where it could be exerted, was likely to be a bad one, 
is unquestionable; but Catharine was powerless for 
harm until after her husband's death, and at least an 
appearance of propriety and devotion was kept up at 
court until that event happened. 1 Mary's great ally 
and protectress, Diane de Poictiers, Henry's powerful 
mistress, even, was outwardly most jealous in preserv- 
ing her dignity ; and though Mary may have learnt 
her crooked political and diplomatic methods from her 
uncles Guise and Cardinal Lorraine, and their great 
rival Catharine, it is most unlikely that any moral 
influences but those of almost stilted propriety were 

1 In support of this opinion, it may be mentioned that both Elizabeth, 
Queen of Spain, and Claude, Duchess of Lorraine, her school-fellows, were 
paragons or propriety, whilst their younger sister Margaret was just the 


allowed to touch her in her most impressionable 

The Duchess of Guise thus writes to Mary's mother 
a few months after the little Queen had arrived in 
France : * It is impossible for her to be more honoured 
than she is. She and the King's eldest daughter, 
Elizabeth, live together, and I think that this is a 
great good thing, for they are thus brought up to love 
each other as sisters. It is not enough to say that 
they do not trouble each other in the least, for she 
' (Mary) never works at night or sleeps in the day- 
time, and is very playful and pretty, and the two 
children are as fond as they can be of each other's 
company. They are always well accompanied, and are 
often in the Queen's chamber, so that nothing could 
be desired better for her than she has. Do not believe 
people who write falsely to you to the contrary, for 
they often complain without reason, and would prefer 
to have separate habitations, so that they might live 
as they pleased, which certainly would not be to the 
advantage of the little Queen, your daughter.' 

That Mary's literary education, even in these early 
years, was carefully conducted, is evident from the 
accomplishments she possessed. Brantome says that she 
knew Latin well, and at the age of thirteen declaimed 
an essay in Latin before the King and Queen, advo- 
cating the higher education of women. Her French, 
says the same authority, was more elegant than if she 
had been born in France. She played well on the 
cither, the harp, and the harpsichord. Her dancing 
and grace of movement were eulogised, as well as her 
horsemanship; 1 and after allowing for all the exag- 

1 Jebb (Conaeus). 


geration of courtiers and poets, it is undoubted that 
Mary was well taught, and an apt pupil. Her hardest 
lessons were probably those which schooled her to the 
trade of royalty : to control the demonstration of 
emotion, to recite by rote grave commonplaces to 
ambassadors and visitors, and to listen patiently to 
addresses beyond the comprehension of a child. 1 The 
fact of their superiority and power was for ever kept 
before the eyes of infant royalties, and such a system 
usually succeeded in crushing out of the unhappy little 
creatures all youthful spontaneity long before they 
reached adolescence. That it did not result in making 
the woman Mary Stuart a prig, as it did most other 
great ladies of the day, including to some extent her 
companion, Elizabeth de Valois, is a proof of her 
strong natural character and marked individuality, but 
it certainly encouraged her hereditary pride, and the 
overweening sense of sacredness of sovereignty which 
contributed largely to the causes of her ultimate ruin. 
Scotland for centuries had been a piece in the hands 
of France to checkmate England when needful, and to 
prevent a hostile coalition between the latter power 
and the rulers of Spain or Flanders; but, with the 
spread of the newer ideas of religion in France, the 
latter country itself developed divisions, and Scotland 
became for a time not only the sliding makeweight on 
the international balance, but an active factor in the 

1 If we are to take literally the account of Conaeus (in Jebb), the child 
of eight years, when taken to Rouen with the court to receive her mother, 
Mary of Guise, in 1550, replied to the Queen-Dowager's maternal em- 
braces by inquiring: 'What factions continued to subsist in the noble 
families of Scotland, at the same time inquiring by name for those who had 
evinced most attachment to the ancient faith. She then proceeded to ask, 
with all the usual expressions of royal benevolence, whether the English 
still harassed her native country ; whether worship remained pure, and the 
prelates and clergy did their duty.' 


internal politics of France. The house of Lorraine 
had, from the birth of the anti-papal movement in 
Europe, been foremost in their championship of the 
traditional claims of the Church ; and the French 
branch of the house represented by Duke Claude, and 
afterwards by the Dukes Francis and Henry and their 
brothers, naturally espoused the same side, which, in 
Paris at least, was also the popular one. The appear- 
ance of the Guises as French princes, allied by 
marriage with the royal house and claiming their 
privileges to the full, naturally aroused resentment in 
the house of Bourbon, princes of the blood, whose 
claim had previously been unrivalled; whilst their 
ostentatious pushing of the papal cause, with obviously 
ambitious aims of their own, was also displeasing both 
to those great nobles who had for so long been para- 
mount in the state, the Montmorencis, and their 
kinsmen the ChatiUons, and to the not inconsiderable 
number who had imbibed some sympathy for the new 
ideas of religious reform. The devout and decorous 
concubine, Diane de Poictiers, sided with the Guises ; 
and naturally the neglected Queen Catharine de 
Medici favoured the opposite party, biding her time 
when she might deal a blow at the Guise and pro- 
Catholic faction, whose aggrandisement she knew meant 
her own enfeeblement. The marriage of the King of 
Scots to Mary of Guise had been a great stroke of 
policy for the bride's family, and the aid subsequently 
sent to Scotland by France had been opposed bitterly, 
and minimised as much as possible by the parties at 
court who were jealous of the rise of Guisan influence. 
The betrothal of the infant Mary to the Dauphin, and 
her deportation, had been similarly combated ; but 


Diane de Poictiers was all-powerful with Henry n., 
and she and the Guises had their way in spite of 
Catharine and the Montmorencis. 

It will be seen, therefore, that whilst Mary was still 
a child she was the centre of a great intrigue in French 
home politics, as well as being a precious international 
pledge; and the visit of her mother to France in 
September 1550, for a year, was avowedly for the 
purpose of obtaining support for her claim to the 
Scottish regency, still nominally held by Arran (Duke 
of Chatelherault), with the object of carrying out more 
firmly than before the policy most conducive to the 
Guisan objects in France. By bribes and address she 
had won over a large party of the Scottish nobles to 
her views, and with ceaseless persistence pursued her 
aim until (in 1554) she was successful. That her 
openly French policy in Scotland was for a time 
accepted without protest, and the opponents in France 
itself of the Guise domination silenced, was owing 
greatly to the accession of the half-Spanish Mary 
Tudor to the throne of England, and her marriage 
with Philip ; such an alliance being, as usual, a signal 
for the close drawing together of France and Scotland 
on the old national lines that had existed before the 
opening of the Reformation. This was, however, but 
a passing phase, which disappeared when Elizabeth 
succeeded and pledged England to an anti-papal and 
nationally independent policy. This short digression 
has been necessary in order to show how many 
warring interests surrounded Mary, even in her 
childhood, and caused her future to be of greater 
importance to Christendom than that of any other 
woman of her time except Elizabeth Tudor. 


They were not all friends, therefore, in France that 
approached the young Queen in her years of inno- 
cence. In 1 55 1 a plot was discovered to poison her 
by a Scotsman of her own name, whom some historians 
have without adequate proof sought to identify with 
an anonymous Scot, presumably a spy, who was sent 
to Mason, the English ambassador in France, by 
Edward's Council ; l but it does not appear probable, 
in the absence of positive evidence, that Somerset's 
government would at this period have run the risk of 
entering into such a murder-plot, by which, for some 
time at least, no great advantage could be gained by 
England. On the other hand, the interest of the 
-Hamiltons in the early disappearance of Mary is 
obvious. In the meanwhile the child grew in beauty 
and precocity. The staid, dignified little letter 
written to her mother in 1552 2 shows her direct 
initiative at several points. Her mother had charged 
her with secrecy upon certain matters, to which she 
replies : * Je vous puis assurer, madame, que rien qui 
viendra de vous ne sera sceu par moy * ; and with all 
seriousness she discusses the affairs submitted to her, 
though with many dutiful protestations of her humble 
obedience to the more mature judgment of her elders. 
It is evident, too, that her advisers in France were the 
Duke of Guise and Charles, Cardinal Lorraine, her 
uncles. She writes in this connection : c I have shown 
the letters to my uncle Guise, as I thought you would 
wish me to do so ; although in view of the orders you 
send me I should not have shown them to any one, 
only I was afraid that I should not be able to under- 

1 Calendar of foreign State Papers, Edward. 
* Labanoff, vol. i. p. 5. 


stand them without his help; ... I would have 
written to you in cipher, but my secretary tells me 
it is not necessary yet. 9 She begs in the same letter 
that her servants may be better 'paid, and, evidently in 
obedience to the request of her mother, encloses two 
letters written separately with her own hand : * so that 
you may be able to show that to my master without any 
one knowing that you have written to me about it* 

This for a child of ten shows a precocious develop- 
ment, which, given natural ability, would be a likely 
result of the kind of training to which she was sub- 
mitted. The astute Cardinal Lorraine (the younger) 
evidently took pride in the progress of so apt a pupil 
as his niece. This is how he describes her in letters 
to her mother early in 1553, he having just accom- 
panied the King to Amboise on a visit to the royal 
children : ' She has grown so much, and grows daily 
in size, goodness, beauty, and virtue, 1 that she has 
become the most perfect and accomplished person in 
all honest and virtuous things that it is possible to 
imagine, either in gentle or simple rank. I can assure 
you that the King is so delighted with her that he 
passes much time talking with her, and for an hour 
together she amuses him with wise and witty dis- 
course as if she were a woman of twenty-five.* The 
whole family were to come to St. Germain, and young 
Francis was to be furnished with a separate household. 
In giving this news to his sister, Cardinal Lorraine 
shows the cloven hoof, and allows us to see his enmity 

1 Writing shortly after this, the Venetian ambassador, Capello, reported 
that 'she is most beautiful (bellissima), and so accomplished that she 
inspires with astonishment every one who witnesses her acquirements. The 
Dauphin, too, is very fond of her, and finds great pleasure in her company 
and conversation ' (Relations des Ambatsadeurs Fenetiens). 


towards the Queen Catharine de Medici. The latter, 
he says, will not allow her two elder daughters to have 
any separate household, but has decided to keep them 
close to her under her own control, c determined that 
whilst she lives, or they remain single, no one shall 
have any authority over them but herself.' The 
Cardinal then urges his sister to act in the same way 
towards Mary, namely, to appoint her household and 
governors for her, or in other words to withdraw her 
from the influence of Catharine. ' I pray you act 
strongly in this respect, and you will thus always have 
the more power over her ' ; and he sends to his sister 
a complete list of the persons he proposes to form 
Mary's household. c Believe me, madame, she already 
possesses so high and noble a spirit that she shows 
great annoyance at seeing herself so poorly treated, 
and she is anxious to be free from this tutorship and 
to live in a dignified fashion.' * 

It may well be supposed that with such a preceptor 
as Cardinal Lorraine to influence Mary's natural pride, 
and to mould her a fit instrument for the Guise ends, 
there would be but little love between Catharine and 
the niece of her enemies. As we have seen, the two 
daughters of France who were Mary's schoolfellows 
were kept in close tutelage under the watchful eye of 
their mother, whilst Mary was in the enjoyment of a 
separate household paid by Scotland, and was surrounded 
by Scottish nobles and gentlemen. Thus attended, 
and with Cardinal Lorraine ever watchful, it was 
evident that Mary was protected at all points from 
the political influence of the Queen. If Conseus is to be 
believed, Mary, who with the rest of the royal family 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. p. n. 


spent some hours every afternoon in the Queen's 
presence-chamber, used to watch Catharine's every 
movement, and treasure up every word that fell from 
her lips, presumably in her precocious desire to learn 
and imitate how a queen should carry herself. 
Catharine asked her once why she preferred her 
company to that of her young companions, and 
Mary's courtly answer could not have deceived the 
wily Italian, who hated the child she knew was waiting 
under the tutelage of her foes to play the part of 
Queen of France as soon as Providence might decree. 
It was gall and wormwood for Catharine de Medici, 
but she took her vengeance to the full when her 
opportunity came. 

The pedantic, artificial, little Latin letters or exer- 
cises which at the age of about twelve years Mary 
addressed daily to Princess Elizabeth * show how con- 
stantly the child's thoughts dwelt upon the splendour 
of her destiny. The faulty construction and self- 
conscious tone of these curious documents add to their 
value, as showing that they were the genuine unaided 
production of Mary herself. Quoting Plutarch, who 
she says is a philosopher worthy of teaching a prince, 
she writes : * He who counterfeits a prince's coin is 
punished : how much more severely should he be 
punished who corrupts a prince's mind : for, as Plato 
tells us, the people of a State are apt to take after their 
princes.' Again : ' The true grandeur of a prince, 
my dear sister, is not in splendour, nor in gold or fine 
purple, or rich gems and other pomps, but in prudence 
and wisdom : and just as a prince is different from his 
subjects in his dress and manner of living, so should 

1 Latin Themes of Mary Stuart (Anatole de Montaiglon). 


he differ from them in their foolish and vulgar ideas/ 
The next day Mary pursued the same line of thought. 
c The prince ought not to boast principally of the 
blazonry and signs of nobility he receives from his 
parents, but should seek first of all to imitate their 
virtues. That is the first thing ; the second is that a 
prince should be well taught in arts and sciences, and 
third and least is the painted blazonry of his ances- 
tors.' 'Amidst all this mass of prunes and prisms 
the natural little girl occasionally pushes through to 
the surface. Princess Claude had been naughty one 
day, insisting upon drinking excessively just before 
going to bed. The tutor had asked the elder sister 
Elizabeth to reprove her for it, but Elizabeth had 
frankly replied that she too wanted to drink before 
she went to bed. Mary Stuart, in her Latin theme at 
all events, was quite shocked at this. c We should be 
examples to the people,' she wrote. c How can we 
reprove others unless we ourselves are faultless? A 
good prince must live in such sort that great and 
small may take example by his virtues.' Unfortunately 
for this high-sounding precept, Cardinal Lorraine, 
writing to his sister a few months previously, lets us 
see that Mary Stuart, even at twelve years old, was 
still human, notwithstanding her priggish copybook. 
i It was good to see your daughter, who is in excellent 
health, better than ever. I am astonished that people 
should write to you that she is sickly. They must be 
ill-natured people, indeed, to say such a thing, for she 
was never better in her life, and the physicians say 
that, to judge from her constitution, she may, with 
God's blessing, live as long as any of her relatives. It 
is true that she has experienced at times some faint- 



ness, but this is only caused by her forgetting herself 
and eating too much. She has always a very good 
appetite, and if she had her way and ate as much as 
she liked, her stomach would often suffer for it. But 
I am having more care than ever taken of her way of 
life, and hope that we shall so well carry out the trust 
you have confided to us that her line shall be well 
continued, I scrupulously go through every apart- 
ment once a month myself, and inquire minutely into 
everything that is done ; and I take care to order that 
no stranger whatever is to be allowed to enter or 
frequent any of the offices ; and that all the officers 
carry out their duties properly.' * 

Mary thenceforward was nominally her own mistress, 
but really under the guardianship of the Cardinal ; and 
although possessing a separate household, still accom- 
panied the royal family in their daily life. Her 
correspondence with her mother at this period, whilst 
frequently showing the guiding hand of Lorraine, 
contains increasing signs of independent action on 
the part of Mary herself. The Earl of Huntly, to 
whom she and her house owed much, had asked for 
the reversion of some benefice or office, his petition 
apparently having been endorsed by the Queen- 
Regent Mary of Guise. Mary thereupon wrote to 
her mother : ' Please pardon me, and do not take in 
ill part if in the government of my realm I take 
example from the King (of France), who never grants 
a benefice to any one until the possessor thereof is 
dead/ * She begins also at this time to ask favours 
for her servants, and to show liking for some and 
repugnance to others. With her governess, Madame 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. p. 21. * Ibid. 


de Paroys, indeed, she seems to have had quite a 
serious quarrel about the distribution of her wardrobe, 
in which the governess thought she was not fairly 
treated ; and by numerous indications in the course 
of her correspondence it is evident that at the age of 
about thirteen or fourteen the result of Mary's training 
as a child-monarch had been to stamp indelibly upon 
her character the impression of her sovereign privileges 
and exalted destiny. 

She was now of an age, too, for the Guise interest 
to make capital out of her by using her authority to 
increase the French control over her country. Arran 
and the Scots nobles had been bribed wellnigh to 
their hearts' content, and meekly accepted the decision 
of the French parliament that Scotland should in 
future be governed in Mary's own name ; and in 
1554 her decree making her mother Regent during 
her absence was confirmed in Edinburgh, whilst Knox 
and the growing party of reformers looked sourly 
on, knowing that with Catholic Mary Tudor on the 
English throne no help could come to them from that 
quarter. The Guises, indeed, were triumphing all 
along the line, and, as events turned out, their 
attempts to garner the harvest of their success too 
fast caused the downfall of their hopes. With her 
uncles and Diane de Poictiers Mary was upon terms 
of the closest friendship : * And as for my uncle 
the Cardinal I say nothing (with regard to his kind- 
ness), for I am sure you already know. ... It is 
incredible how careful they all are for me.' * Belong- 
ing thus, as she did, to the party of her kinsmen and 
the concubine, Mary must necessarily have been on 

1 Mary to her mother, 28th December 1555 (Labanoff, vol. i.). 


terms of more or less polite antagonism with Catharine 
de Medici, although court etiquette brought them 
frequently together ; and it is not unlikely that at this 
period it was that the ill feeling between the two 
queens led to the taunt said to have been uttered 
by Mary to her prospective mother-in-law, that the 
latter was € a merchant's daughter and would never 
be anything else.' l If it had been possible for the 
Queen with the Bourbons, the Montmorencis, and 
the Chatillons to upset the marriage treaty, which 
aided so much the glorification of the Guises, they 
would have done so ; and there is no lack of evidence 
that they tried. In April 1556 Cardinal Lorraine 
writes to his sister praising more than ever the good 
conduct of his niece, ' who is so good and virtuous 
that she could not behave better if she had a dozen 
governesses ' (instead of none) ; ' and . . . the King told 
me that he thought of having her married this winter, 
which no doubt he will do if you come, but I think 
not otherwise.' * Cardinal Lorraine told the Venetian 
ambassador somewhat later that the King was desirous 
of having the marriage hastened in order to put a stop 
to the proposals which on every opportunity were 
brought forward for marrying Mary elsewhere, and it 
may well be believed that between the rival intrigues 
of the Montmorencis and the Guises the weak Henry 

1 Cardinal Santa Croce to the Pope, quoted by Cheruel: Catharine, 
however, a profound dissembler, who at this period made no open attempt 
to dominate, followed the lead of her husband in showing public con- 
sideration for Mary. Cardinal Lorraine writes (8th April 1556V. 'I can 
assure you, madam (/.*. Mary of Guise), that there is nothing more 
virtuous or beautiful than your daughter, and she is very devout also. She 
quite governs the King and Queen.* In reality, as was afterwards made 
plain, Catharine was the last person in the world to allow a girl whom she 
hated to 'govern * her $ but it was for the moment her policy to ' lie low.* 

8 The Cardinal to Mary of Guise (LabanofF, vol. i.). 


was often perplexed. At one juncture (1556) the 
former family seemed likely to win the game. Francis 
de Montmorenci, son of the Constable, Henry's old 
and dearest friend, married the King's legitimated 
daughter, and the marriage of Mary Stuart and the 
Dauphin then trembled in the balance. A proposal 
was at once started to marry her to young Courtnay, 
who had been the native pretender for the hand of his 
cousin Mary Tudor previous to her marriage with 
Philip. The French pretext for the proposal was a 
plausible one, namely, that the efforts of Philip 11. to 
marry Princess Elizabeth Tudor to a nominee of his 
own threatened the permanent domination of England 
by the Spanish interest to the prejudice of France, and 
that the establishment of Courtnay as King-Consort 
of Scotland under French auspices would effectually 
put a stop to that danger. 

The promotion by the Guises of the new war in 
league with the Pope against Philip, both in Italy and 
Flanders, again cast the Montmorenci influence into 
the background ; and the crushing defeat and capture 
of the Constable at St. Quentin (August 1557), 
followed by Guise's brilliant campaigns in Italy, and 
afterwards in Picardy, raised the uncles of Mary 
Stuart to the highest pitch of power and favour. 
The Bishop of Ross tells us that the decision to hurry 
forward Mary's marriage was the direct result of the 
defeat of St. Quentin, as it was feared that in the 
event of France being badly beaten by Philip and the 
English, the Scottish parliament might withdraw their 
consent to the marriage. Another reason is given by 
the Venetian ambassador. He says that the com- 
pletion of the marriage would enable France to make 


use of Scottish forces as a diversion against England 
in the following year's campaign. 1 In either case it is 
evident that the marriage of Mary at the particular 
period when it was effected was a move promoted by 
the Guises, in the first place to forward their own 
political aims, and, to a smaller extent, to serve what 
they considered French national interests. 

Mary Stuart was now over fifteen years of age, at 
a time when the fascination of her budding woman- 
hood first began to cast its spell over men. Brantome 
says : * Her great beauty and virtue grew in such sort, 
that when she was about fifteen years old her loveli- 
ness began to shine in its bright noonday, and to 
shame the sun itself with its brilliance, so beautiful 
was she. ... It was good to hear her talk, both to 
the great and the humblest. Whilst she stayed in 
France she always devoted two hours each day to 
study and reading : and there was no science upon 
which she could not discourse well. Above all, she 
loved poetry and poets, especially M. de Ronsard, 
M. du Bellay, and M. de Maisonfleur, who all wrote 
beautiful poems for her, which I have often seen her 
read in France and in Scotland with tears in her eyes 
and sorrow in her heart. . . . Whenever she addressed 
any one she had a very sweet, fascinating, and pretty, 
yet dignified, way of speaking, and with a discreet and 
modest sort of familiarity and gentle gracefulness. . . . 
She had, too, this special perfection to enchant the 
world. She sang sweetly, accompanying herself on 
the lute with lovely hands, so finely fashioned that 
those of Aurora herself could not surpass them,' * 

1 Venetian Calendar, Sorzanzo to the Doge, 9th November 1557. 
s Brantome, Dames IUustres. 


The courtly poets, Ronsard especially, piled up their 
adjectives in her praise, to an extent, that if half they 
said of her was true, her place was amongst the angels 
rather than amongst the daughters of men. Her fair 
skin, her bright eyes, her lovely hand, and inimitable 
grace are sung in verses innumerable. Amongst them 
all, Du Bellay appears best to catch the secret of 
her charm, which must have lain in her general sym- 
pathetic attractiveness rather than in perfect beauty 
of particular features. 

' The tongue of Hercules, so fables tell, 
All people drew by triple chains of steel. 
Her simple glance where'er its magic fell, 
Made men her slaves, though none the shackles feel.' 

The boy Francis de Valois, to whom this wondrous 
young paragon was affianced, was but fourteen. A 
poor, bilious, degenerate weakling, stunted of figure 
and unprepossessing of face, but, young as he was, 
already devoted to the beautiful girl whom from his 
earliest years he had been taught to regard as his 
future wife. Throughout the correspondence of the 
time we find traces of his frequent illnesses, usually 
fevers and agues, which left the lad weak and exhausted 
after his recovery. He was shy and timid, as his 
father had been at a similar age, though less inclined 
to, or indeed capable of, manly exercises than he. 
He was as yet too young to have engaged actively 
in the vices of the outwardly brilliant and devout, 
but intensely immoral, court, but he appears to have 
been, nevertheless, fully alive to the desirability of his 
bride. 1 

1 Brantome says he was ' eperdument epris ' of her. Even when they 
were both children (in 1548) Constable Montmorenci wrote to Mary of 


What were Mary's feelings towards him at first it 
would be more difficult to say. 1 Familiarity with the 
idea of life-union with him, one of the two greatest 
marriageable princes in Europe of the time, must have 
accustomed her to any shortcomings in his appearance, 
whilst her pride cannot fail to have been flattered at 
the deference with which the Dauphin was surrounded, 
and the splendour of the destiny apparently reserved 
for him. She was now, moreover, at an age when, 
precocious as we have seen her to be, she could 
appreciate much of what was passing at court before 
her eyes, and of necessity must have regarded gallantry 
with lenient curiosity, if not with anticipation. The 
King, of whose virtues she heard so much, was living 
in unconcealed adultery with Mary's special patroness, 
a devout dame of high lineage, whose daughter's hand 
was sought by some of the proudest nobles in the 
land ; laxity of conduct, in such a court as that 
described by Brantome, must have been treated more 
as a joke than otherwise. Mary must have under- 
stood by this time that her aunt and governess was 
also the King's mistress, and that even her admired 

Guise : ' Je vous asseuray que Monseigneur le Dauphin en est soigneulx et 
amoureux come de s'amye et ga femme, et qu il est bien ayse a juger que 
Dieu les a faict naitre Tun pour Tautre. Je vous souhaict souvent ici pour 
les veoir ensemble/ 

1 In the midst of the splendid turmoil of her wedding-day (24th April 


1 5 58) Mary found time to scribble a long, dutiful, and delighted letter to her 
mother (first printed by Mr. Hay Fleming in his Mary Stuart), in which 
she does not hide her triumphal happiness in her marriage. ' Je ne vous 

mother (first printed by Mr. Hay Fleming in his Mary Stuart), in which 
she does not hide her triumphal happiness in her marriage. ' Je ne vous 
en diray rien, sinon que je m'estime Tune de plus heureuses tames du monde, 

pour avoir et le Roy et la Reine, et madame (f>. Margaret), et messieurs et 
medames (in the Princes and Princesses of the blood) tant que je les 
sauroys souhaiter, et le Roy mon mari, me fait une estime comme telle 
que je veus vivre et mourir . . . (here follows a list of the beautiful 
presents made to her). Quant a messieurs mes oncles il n'est possible de 
me plus faire d'honneur et d'amitie qu'ils ont tous fait tant aises et contents 

3ue rien plus, et surtout monsieur le Cardinal mon oncle qui a eu la paine 
e tout, et tout avance si onestement que on ne parle d'autre chose.* 


uncle the Cardinal, great Churchman and prince though 
he might be, was a sensual profligate, who spared 
neither innocence nor virtue in the pursuit of his 
pleasures. 1 Such influences as these, acting upon an 
already precocious mind, had probably quite reconciled 
Mary to the idea of an early marriage, even with so 
undesirable a husband in appearance as the Dauphin 
Francis, apart from the promptings of ambition, and 
the direction of her uncles, whose guidance she had 
been schooled to accept from early childhood. 

In the late autumn of 1557 the Scots parliament were 
summoned by the Queen-Regent to receive the demand 
of the French king that the marriage, so long ago 
before agreed upon, should be effected ; and although, 
as Buchanan says, the Scottish reformers well knew that 
closer relations with France meant a menace to their 
liberties, they were powerless to resist ; and a bribed 
nobility appointed eight ambassadors to proceed to 
France and conclude the espousals. They were in- 
structed to obtain a pledge from Mary and her 
husband to preserve intact the laws and privileges of 
Scotland ; and, on their arrival after a voyage of great 
danger, a formal promise to that effect was given to 
them (15th and 30th April) — Mary by letters-patent 
having previously authorised them, 8 in conjunction 
with her grandmother, Antoinette Duchess of Guise, 
to setde the terms of the marriage contract. 

1 Bad as was Cardinal Lorraine (Charles of Guise), he was not so bad, 
or bad in the same way, as the elder Cardinal Lorraine, his uncle John, 
for whose vices he is sometimes blamed. BothweU's coarse reference to 
Mary after her arrival in Scotland as 'the CardinaTs whore* must surely 
have been unwarranted. 

* The patent is cited in LabanofF, the Scottish ambassadors being the 
Archbishop of Glasgow, the Bishops of Orkney and Ross, Lords Cassilis 
and Rothes, James Stuart, Prior of St. Andrews, James Fleming, John 
Erskine of Dun, and George Seaton. 


This was on the 16th March 1558, but whilst the 
public treaty was being solemnly discussed, Cardinal 
Lorraine was urging his niece towards one of the 
greatest acts of treachery ever committed by a sove- 
reign against his people. How far Mary herself was 
conscious of the shameful character of the documents 
she signed has been a favourite subject for discussion 
between her partisans and her detractors, but great as 
may be the responsibility of the Guises in the matter 
it is impossible to acquit Mary Stuart of blame. She 
was young, it is true, and had always looked towards 
her uncles for guidance. Scotland was, moreover, for 
her now little more than a name. It was spoken of 
before her as savage, uncouth, and rough, and its 
population was regarded as semi-barbarians for the 
most part whose only culture came from France. 
Doubtless Mary had been brought to believe that such 
a country, poor and isolated, must necessarily fall a 
prey to England and lose its Catholicism unless it 
became an integral part of the realm of France. But 
after making all allowances it must be recollected that 
Mary had already shown in many letters still extant 
that she understood perfectly her sovereign position 
and privileges, she was clever and clear sighted, and 
it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the in- 
terests of the Guises and of France were her first care, 
whatever became of Scotland. Cardinal Lorraine had 
everything his own way. There were none to gainsay 
him, for the Constable Montmorenci was a prisoner 
of war, and Henry 11. was of course delighted to 
endorse a policy so flattering to his hopes as that 
of making Scotland a French dependency. As usual, 
the Guises grasped more than they could hold, and 


with such a nation as the Scots the undertakings signed 
by Mary would have been in any case impossible of 
fulfilment. But this fact does not render Mary the 
less guilty of levity in thus, so far as she could do it, 
bartering away her birthright, without even the smallest 
mess of pottage in return. On the 4th April she 
signed at Fontainebleau the three documents which 
made Scotland a fief of France. 1 In consideration of 
the protection always given by the kings of France to 
her realm, and the care that had been taken of her 
(Mary) by Henry 11., she declares that if she should 
die without heirs of her body, * she gives in pure and 
free donation to the kings of France, present and to 
come, all her realm of Scotland, and all her rights and 
claims to the crown of England,' and the king through 
Cardinal Lorraine accepts the gift, *to the profit of 
the crown of France.' As if this were insufficient, 
Mary next undertook that Scotland and its entire 
revenue should remain thenceforward pledged in gage 
to France until the whole sum of a million (crowns) 
in gold was paid as a return for the expenses that had 
been incurred by the King in the defence of the 
country ; and to crown the iniquity, Mary affixed her 
signature to yet another document, by which she 
divested herself of the power of ever retracting or 
annulling the free donation she had made of Scotland 
to France, in default of heirs of her body. 

It is obvious that the terms of these documents 
were not communicated to the Scottish emissaries, who, 
however humble they might be, would not have dared 

1 They are published in Labanoff, vol. i. v but were first printed in Purton 
Cooper's Corresfondance dt La Mothe Fenelon. The originals are in the 
Archives Nationales Paris. 


to confirm this betrayal of Scotland, and injustice to 
the Hamiltons ; but the matter can hardly have been 
kept so secret that James Stuart, Mary's base brother, 
had no inkling that something was being done under- 
hand. He was now twenty-six years of age, and was 
known to lean to the side of the reformers, as against 
France, and as one of the emissaries was actively 
engaged in setding the public treaty in which the 
interests of Scotland were duly safeguarded. 1 His 
suspicions may have been strong, but he was as yet 
powerless to act. The lesson was not lost upon him, 
though all went smoothly on the surface, except for 
some distrust when the Scottish ambassadors replied in 
answer to the French demands that they had not brought 
authority to crown Francis as their Queen's consort. 

Splendid as had been some of the French courdy 
ceremonies under Francis i., they were all thrown in 
the shade by the blaze of magnificence that accom- 
panied the first marriage of Mary Stuart. It was an 
age of ostentatious sumptuousness, when men and 
women in their garb and mien sought to realise the 
dreams of the poets, and like all periods of moral 
decadence it was characterised by the emulation of 
people of all ranks to outshine their fellows in richness 
of attire. For weeks before the ceremony, we are told, 
all the shops and ateliers of Paris, the jewellers, the 
embroiderers, the habit-makers, and mercers were 
crowded with purchasers. Within the palace of the 
Louvre naught was heard but the clamour of workmen 

1 It was stipulated that the elder son of the marriage should be King of 
France and Scotland, and that if only a daughter was born she was to be 
Queen of Scotland with a dower of 400,000 crowns from France, and only 
to be m arried with the consent of the King of France. A widow's jointure 
of 6o,ooq livres Tournots was secured to Mary. 


erecting stands and theatres for the coming festivals, 
and every gallant and fine lady, every poet, wit, or 
artificer, contributed something to the attractiveness 
of the spectacle. 1 

The first betrothal or hand-fasting took place on 
the 19th April in the great hall of the Louvre, when 
Mary in all her radiance glittering in white satin and 
gems was led up to Cardinal Lorraine by Henry 11., 
whilst the young bridegroom, barely fourteen years 
and three months old, was conducted by the first 
prince of the blood, Anthony of Bourbon, titular King- 
Consort of Navarre, gay and debonnaire, light and 
vain as ever, though the triumph of the Guises must 
have been a bitter pill to him. After the young pair 
had joined hands, and pledged their troth before the 
Cardinal, a grand banquet and ball followed, of which 
several accounts exist. In the midst of the dancing 
the King of Navarre whispered ruefully to the Venetian 
ambassador as he passed that the unforeseen had 
happened. 9 At the public ceremony a few days after- 
wards mercurial Paris went crazy with joy. For over 
two hundred years no Dauphin had been wedded on 
French soil, and for motives of policy it suited the 
Guises to show by the splendour of the feast how 
completely they had brought Scotland under French 
tutelage. So whilst the festival lasted all went well. 
Opposite the great west door of Notre Dame a vast 
amphitheatre was erected, and a sumptuous gallery 
hung with blue velvet sown with golden lilies traversed 
the great space from the bishop's palace, and so up to 

1 For accounts of the marriage festivities see Discours du grand it 
magnifique triompAe, etc Paris, 1558, Teulet's Pafiers <fEtat, etc. 
* Venetian Calendar, vol. ri. 


the high altar of the cathedral itself. Before the door 
stood the Pope's legate, the Cardinal, Archbishop du 
Bellay, and the prelates of France, whilst lines of 
halberdiers kept the space open and bands of music 
beguiled the time of waiting. 

It was the crowning day of the Guise triumph, and 
when the brilliant Duke Francis came to give a last 
glance at the preparations before the other principal 
actors came, he showed by one act in what quarter he 
looked for support in his soaring ambition. Bowing 
low to the prelates and nobles who clustered round 
the staging, he saw that the view of the route was 
blocked from the vast crowd on the amphitheatre and 
in the streets by the knots of courtier's who thronged 
the space. To humiliate the aristocracy and curry 
favour with the Paris mob was always the Guise policy, 
and the Duke with an imperious gesture made the 
nobles stand aside that the crowd might see the show 
unimpeded. Then the marriage procession swept 
round from the bishop's palace. Heralded by music, 
preceded by hundreds of courtiers in gay apparel, there 
came the princes of the blood and the great Churchmen 
of the royal house, Cardinal de Bourbon (himself long 
afterwards a puppet-king of France) and the two 
Cardinals Lorraine — the wicked old John, already 
tottering to an execrated grave, and Charles of Guise 
the real hero of the day. With soaring gold cross 
before him marched the Pope's nuncio, bearer of the 
special blessing of the Pontiff on the wedded pair ; and 
then, glittering and handsome, the titular King-Consort 
of Navarre leading by the hand the shrinking little 
bridegroom, abashed by the thunderous cheers that 
greeted him. Henry n. himself conducted the beauti- 


ful young bride, tall and slender, with a perfect grace 
prematurely adorning her sixteen springs. She was 
clad in a blue velvet robe covered with silver lilies and 
piled with flashing gems, and bore upon her fair 
young brow a diamond coronet worth half a million 
crowns. 'She looked,' says Brantome, 'a hundred 
times more lovely than a goddess from heaven, as she 
went to her wedding on that morning full of brave 
majesty ; and so she did as she danced at the ball in 
the afternoon, and still more when as evening fell she 
bent her modest steps in disdainful indifference to 
consummate her vow to Hymen's altar. And every 
voice in the court and in the great city outside re- 
sounded with her praise, saying that blessed a hundred 
times was the prince who was yoked to such a princess. 
If Scotland was worth much, its Queen was more 
precious still ; and even if she had possessed no crown 
or sceptre, the divine beauty of her person alone was 
worth a kingdom ; but being a queen she brought a 
double fortune to her happy husband/ l 

As the silver trumpets brayed the message that 
the Church had set its seal on the union, great cries 
of ' largesse ' went up from the throats of the multi- 
tude ; and gold and silver coin was flung broadcast, 
in the names of the King and Queen of Scotland, 
to a mob which tore and fought for it like savage 
beasts to their own destruction. After high mass 
inside the cathedral and the offering of homage to 
the Dauphin as King-Consort of Scotland, dinner was 
served in state in the Archbishop's palace hard by, the 
heavy gold crown of Scotland being suspended over 
Mary's head the while. And then, amidst enthu- 

1 Dams Ulustres. 


siasm indescribable, the procession slowly made its 
way through the thronged streets to the old palace 
of the Tournelles, Maty riding in the same litter 
with Catharine de Medici, Queen of France, who 
nursed her hate and smiled upon her defeat. At 
the great ball after supper Mary led out first her 
friend and comrade, Elizabeth, the King's eldest 
daughter, to dance a stately pavane. The young 
Queen's train, we are told, was six ells long, and 
had to be carried behind her by a courtier as she 
trod the measure. Not even in Paris had ever 
such splendour been seen as this; and the triumphs 
and devices — tedious and trite as they seem to us now 
— were regarded by the spectators as the acme of 
ingenuity and magnificence. 'Out of the gilded 
chamber,' we are told, 'there marched the seven 
planets, garbed as the poets have described them to 
us.' These were beautiful girls, who sang an epitha- 
lamium as they advanced through the hall. Then 
came five -and -twenty hobby-horses caparisoned in 
gold, each ridden by a feigned young prince in shining 
garments ; white ponies drew triumphal cars with 
heathen deities, muses, angels, and the like ; and so, 
for two full hours, the show of beauty and volup- 
tuousness went on. The crowning act was the 
entrance of six brave galleons with swelling sails of 
gold, upon the decks of which two seats were placed — 
one occupied by a young prince, masked, and the other 
still vacant. As the vessels swept past the marble 
table at which the princesses sat, each prince in turn 
sprang out and captured the lady of his choice, the 
young bridegroom of the day bearing off in triumph 
his own Mary Stuart. 


It was a brave show, and it was meant to be so, for 
it signified much more than the rejoicing over the 
marriage of a boy and girl, however highborn. It 
seemed to be, so far as men could see, the final 
triumph of the Guise and papal party in France, 
and the deathblow to English Protestant hopes of 
redressing the possible union of the Catholic powers 
against the Reformation, by ranging Scotland per- 
manently on the side of the anti-papal party. Mary 
Tudor was known now to be fading away childless, 
and her death must certainly bring to the surface the 
strong Protestant elements in her country. With 
Scotland inimical and Catholic they might be crushed, 
and the Reformation in Europe defeated ; and the 
Guises thought that surely now they held Scotland 
in their grasp, to be used in their own behoof when 
the time for action should come. 

Mary Stuart had been their puppet, for they had 
reared her from her infancy to play the part ; but 
in the later stages of her maidenhood, and during her 
short married life, she must have been a willing one, 
consciously partaking of the Guise aims and sacrificing 
everything to serve them. 1 Without evidence it would 
be unfair to suggest that on this occasion she allowed 
her eagerness for an early marriage with Francis to 
influence her to the surrender of Scotland to France 
for the sake of bringing it about. She probably 

1 In the hastily written letter from Mary to her mother, dated on the 
day of her marriage with Francis (first printed by Mr. Hay Fleming), a 
most significant passage occurs which shows how ready and eager Mary 
was to subordinate the interests of Scotland to the aims of the Guises : 
' Quant a vous dire ce je fait avec mes Ecosois je espere que vous vous 
contenteres de moi, car comme je pense que Monsieur le Cardinal mon 
oncle yous aura fait entendre . • . j'en ay a peu pres fait tout ce que je 


believed in all sincerity that the adoption of any other 
course than that she took would mean the domination 
of her country by its * ancient and inveterate enemy, 
England/ and its eventual abandonment of the faith 
which she had been taught to believe offered the only 
road to human happiness and eternal salvation. 

Thenceforward the * King Dauphin * and the * Queen 
Dauphiness' acted together in the government of 
Scotland, under the watchful direction of the Guise 
brothers. As we have seen, the demand that Francis 
should immediately be crowned King after his mar- 
riage had been indignantly refused by the Scottish 
commissioners. 1 Four of them — Cassilis, Rothes, 
Fleming, and the Bishop of Orkney — in all probability 
fell victims to their temerity in standing athwart the 
path of Guisan ambition. Not Knox alone, but others 
less prejudiced than he, assert that they were poisoned 
* with Italian posset or French fegges' ; and Buchanan 
also says that James Stuart (afterwards Earl of Murray) 
took the same dose and was saved only by his youth 
and strength of constitution, though he suffered the 
evil effects of the poison for the rest of his life. The 
uncompromising Catholic, Leslie, also speaks of the 
commissioners suffering from 'evill drogges'; and 
there can be but little doubt that the four commis- 
sioners were murdered for their patriotism. 2 Mary, 
in writing to her mother on the subject, says no word 
of regret, 8 although in the letter she gave to the 

1 Buchanan, History of Scotland. 

2 In Mr. Hay Fleming's Mary Stuart several other authorities for this 
belief are quoted. 

3 Dieu ha voulu que les ambassadeurs qui vont presentement vers vous 
etant a mi chemin ayent est£ repouses jusqu'a Dieppe: la ils sont tous 
malades, et Monsieur d'Orcenay mort.— LabanofF, vol. i. p. 58. 


commissioners on their return to Scotland she expresses 
her satisfaction with their conduct in France. The 
survivors, according to the promise they had given 
to Guise, supported on their return to Scotland the 
demand made by the French ambassador to the 
Scottish parliament that the crown matrimonial should 
be conferred upon Francis, and that his name should 
figure with that of Mary upon all patents, seals, ^nd 
coins issued by the Scottish crown. 

The Queen-Dowager in Scotland had, in the mean- 
while, carried to the verge of prudence, and beyond, the 
policy initiated by her brothers in France. Surrounded 
by French ministers and advisers, civil and military, 
subordinating all Scottish interests to those of her 
native country, Mary of Guise had already aroused 
the jealousy of a powerful faction of nobles against 
the intruders. The ex-Regent Arran (Duke of Chatel- 
herault), and even the Earl of Huntly, protested against 
their country being dragged by France into the war 
against England and the Spanish power ; and the 
growing party of Scottish reformers resented bitterly 
the persecution to which they were exposed without 
disguise by the Queen-Dowager. 

The long-foreseen death of Mary Tudor, Queen of 
England (November 1558), radically changed the 
aspect of affairs, and the arrival of Knox in Scotland 
almost simultaneously with the insolent attempt of the 
Regent to suppress by force all religious rites but those 
of her own Church (May 1559) was a signal for open 
resistance to her authority ; and the sacking of the 
monasteries by the ' rascal multitude ' then made the 
Regent understand that the forces arrayed against 
her were not only those of greedy nobles and sober 


ministers, but a considerable body of the hitherto 
condemned and disregarded common people, who 
understood neither political intrigue nor merely 
verbal protest. Though civil war was averted for 
a time by hollow treaties, the union of Protestant 
lords, thenceforward the * Lords of the Congre- 
gation,' became an active power in the state, look- 
ing yearningly towards the new anti-papal Queen of 
England for help and support, and forming a per- 
manent party opposed to the French and Catholic 
domination of Scotland. The Guises had bent their 
bow to snapping point, and it had broken in their 
hands. A purely French and Catholic Scotland, such 
as they aimed at making it, would have been incom- 
patible with the existence of an independent Protestant 
England, now that the daughter of Anne Boleyn sat 
on the throne, and could make no binding pact with 
the papacy, which regarded her as a bastard, or with 
Philip, the champion of Catholic orthodoxy. 

In the meanwhile, Mary Stuart passed the first few 
months of her short married life apparently in full 
contentment with her young husband. In August, 
four months after her wedding, she speaks in a letter 
to her mother of 'the honour which the King and 
Queen, and the King, my husband, continually pay to 
me/ * Francis accompanied his father to the campaign 
in Picardy in the following month, and his wife speaks 
of writing to him there ; and many small indications 
tend to prove that Mary was as much in love with 
Francis now as he was with her. He was intellect- 
ually infinitely inferior to her, but she appears to have 
exercised all her powers of fascination to please him, 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. p. 57. 


partaking of his outdoor sports, and lavishing atten- 
tions upon him, in return for which he became her 
abject slave, to be manoeuvred by her as the guiding 
brain of Cardinal Lorraine might direct. 

The growing power and boldness of the Protestants 
in France, and above all, the countenance given to the 
Cabrinist assemblies by the princes of the house of 
Bourbon and the anti-Guisan nobles, persuaded Henry 
11. 's present advisers and Philip 11. that this was no 
time for the champions of Catholicism to be fighting 
each other ; and when the death of Mary Tudor was 
imminent, a firm peace and union was negotiated 
between France and Spain, with a secret agreement 
to the effect that both powers were in future to join 
forces to extirpate utterly all manifestations of heresy 
throughout Europe. Mary Stuart's friend and sister- 
in-law, Elizabeth, still almost a child, was to be married 
to stern Philip — instead of to his son, to whom she had 
been promised — France was to be allowed a free hand 
to make Scotland Catholic by force, as a counter- 
balance to a potentially heretic England, subsequently 
to be crushed; and in return, France was to refrain 
from disturbance on the Flanders frontier, whilst 
Philip branded his doubtful Dutch and Flemish 
subjects with the withering sear of Spanish ortho- 

It was a pretty plan on paper ; but, as events turned 
out, it was stultified, because its framers left out of 
account, or underestimated, the strength of certain 
factors which had to be reckoned with : the envy of 
the French and Scottish nobles ; the ability and facility 
of conscience of Elizabeth Tudor and Catharine de 
Medici ; the distrust and hidebound stolidity of 


Spanish Philip; the natural strength and attractive- 
ness of the principle of religious liberty ; and, finally, 
the lack of moral control, which, with all her devotion, 
handed Mary Stuart thralled into the hands of the 
enemies'of her cause. 


The new influence introduced by Elizabeth into European politics — 
Mary's claim to the English crown— Throckmorton in France — Condi- 
tion of affairs in Scotland (i 559) — Death of Henry 11. and accession of 
Francis 11. — Rise of the Guises — Mary's influence in France — Married 
life of Mary and Francis— War in Scotland and death of Mary of Guise 
— The Treaty of Edinburgh (1 560) — Dissensions in France — Death of 
Francis 11. — Grief of Mary, as indicative of her character — Projects for 
her re-marriage — The young King's love for his sister-in-law — Arran 
a suitor — Various other proposals — Don Carlos — Bedford's mission to 
France — Interviews with Mary and Navarre — Mary at Rheims — Scot- 
tish missions to her — James Stuart and Leslie — Mary's secret hopes 
based on a Spanish marriage — Refuses to ratify the Treaty of Edin- 
burgh — Preparations for her departure from France. 

The renewed peace negotiations that followed the 
accession of Elizabeth to the throne of England 
demonstrated that a fresh force had been introduced 
into European diplomacy. The consummate states- 
manship with which Elizabeth and her advisers parried 
the attempts, both of the Guise party and their oppo- 
nents in France, to inveigle England into secret peace 
negotiations which might embroil her with Spain, was 
the first proof given to the world that the daughter of 
the great Harry had inherited his spirit, and in future 
meant to use the difficulties of other powers to serve 
the ends of England, but not to be made an instru- 
ment herself, as her sister had been. Calais had to 
go, it is true, for Philip would not spend a ducat to 



recover it for a heretic, and Elizabeth well knew that, 
as yet, she could not fight France alone for its 
recovery ; but when the peace treaty of Cateau Cam- 
bresis was eventually signed (2nd April 1559), it left 
both France and Spain, notwithstanding their secret 
agreement against all heretics, elbowing each other to 
be first to make Elizabeth's friendship, and if possible 
to secure the nomination of her future husband. 1 One 
of the principal arguments hinted at by the Spanish 
party to force Elizabeth's hand was the probability 
that France would endeavour to establish the claim of 
Mary Stuart to the throne of England as the next 
Catholic heir, in consequence of Elizabeth's heresy. 1 
The Spanish ambassador wrote that she * raved' at 
the mere idea of such claim, and threatened the French 
with all manner of dire punishment for it, much to the 
delight of the Spaniard, who assiduously salted the 
wound that he had opened. 3 But for the irritation 
caused by these continual malicious suggestions, and the 
Guisan zeal of the Queen-Regent of Scotland to crush 
the Protestants in her daughter's realm, it is probable 
that the so-called claim of Mary Stuart to the throne 
of England would have remained a mere theoretical one, 
to be used when need arose by French diplomatists to 

1 For particulars of these intrigues, see the Courtships ofSfueen Elizabeth 
by the present writer. 

' Calendar of Spanish State Papers, Elizabeth, vol. i. 

8 The same ambassador, the hot-headed Feria, at a subsequent period 
(1560), after his retirement from England, told Throckmorton that Car- 
dinal Lorraine had assured him that when the Regent Arran had consented 
to the marriage of Mary and Francis in their infancy, he had agreed to a 
stipulation that Scotland should in future be an appanage of the French 
crown, and ruled by the successive heirs to the realm of France, even 
though no issue were born of Mary's marriage. — Forbes, 4th May 1560. 
This story is extremely unlikely, ana in view of Feria's personal hatred of 
Elizabeth, and his ardent desire to embroil England with France, it may 
safely be disbelieved. 


forward their own ends ;* but the hint of it was enough 
to draw the Scottish reformers and Elizabeth together 
for the purpose of embarrassing the Guise influence, 
and it caused the agents of England in France to 
watch Mary's words and actions with a jealous suspicion, 
of itself almost sufficient to provoke reprisals. 

The first letter written by Mary and her husband, 
Francis, to Elizabeth on the conclusion of the treaty 
of peace (21st April 1559), certainly gives no hint of 
any unfriendly intention on their part In the letter, 
which was carried by Lethington (William Maitland) 
on his way from France to Scotland with the ratifica- 
tion of the treaties of peace, Elizabeth is addressed, 
naturally, in her full title of Queen of England, and 
is assured of the desire on the part of Mary and her 
consort to * detnourer perpetuellement bons frires et saur, 
et entiers amys ' ; but the evil seed of suspicion had 
already been sown, and English statesmen were sourly 
looking upon the young Queen of Scots as the enemy 
of their country. The first note of this feeling is seen 
in a letter from Sir John Mason, one of the peace 
commissioners, who reports to Sir William Cecil that 
the * Queen of Scots is very sick, and these men (i.e. 
the French) fear that she will not long continue. God 
take her to Him as soon as may please Him. 99 Mary, in 
good truth, appears to have been in very delicate 
health at the time. She had suffered frequently from 

1 Cardinal Lorraine was apparently to blame for first bringing forward 
the idea in a form offensive to Elizabeth. In a memorandum of Cecil's 
(Hatfield MSS. vol. i. p. 154) it is stated that when the peace commis- 
sioners met at Cateau Cambresis, Cardinal Lorraine expressed a doubt as 
to whether they ought to ' treat with any for England but with the Dolphin 
and his wife.* But the speech was repudiated, and the Cardinal reproved, 
by the Constable Montmorenci. 

' Foreign Calendar, Elizabeth (March 1559). 


various illnesses before her marriage, but the heart 
weakness, probably arising from indigestion, which we 
have seen troubled her even as a child, seriously 
threatened her life during her short period of wedlock 
in France. When Sir Nicholas Throckmorton went 
to France for the ratification of the peace treaty, and 
to remain afterwards as Elizabeth's resident ambas- 
sador, he considered it necessary to ask Elizabeth how 
he should bear himself towards Mary and the Guises, 
and was told, practically, there was no need for him to 
have anything to do with them at all officially ; but, 
* as for your dooings with the familye of Guise, it shal 
be mete to show good countenance towards them ; and 
if ye shal find any friendshipp in them, to entertayne 
it with as good. If otherwise, ye maye dissemble the 
same, as ye shall see meetest ; for it is best to knowe 
them without knowledge. If any harme be meant it 
is to be learned thence ; and therein may ye have best 
help of Scottes.' l 

Before Throckmorton had proceeded beyond Bou- 
logne, he was able to send to Cecil two specimens of 
the painted scutcheons to be used for decoration 
during the peace and marriage festivities. They 
represented the arms of Scotland and France borne by 
Mary and her husband, and quartered with them those 
of England ; and, although by themselves they might 
have been innocent enough, the suspicions engendered 
by the Spaniards, coupled with Cardinal Lorraine's 
imprudent eagerness, gave to them an importance 
which led to disastrous results. 2 

1 Foreign Calendar, Elizabeth (March 1559), and Forbes' s Public Trans- 

2 Lord Howard of Effingham, the principal English special ambassador, 
also mentions very different scutcheons in a letter to the Queen (24th 


At their first interview with the French royal family 
Throckmorton and his colleagues did not see Mary 
Stuart ; * for that, as it is said, they (i.e. Mary and the 
Princess Margaret, afterwards Duchess of Savoy) be 
somewhat sickly 9 ; and this fact is also mentioned by 
Howard in his letter to the Queen. Mary, however, 
was well enough to receive the Englishmen on the 
same day. They found her seated with her husband 
by her side, and they first addressed Francis with the 
usual diplomatic compliments. Montmorenci was 
close to the lad's side, and whispered to him what 
he had to say in reply ; to the effect that he was glad 
there was peace, and that he would do all he could 
to preserve it. The letter jointly to Mary and him 
was then delivered, and read aloud by a secretary. 
* Whereupon the Queen herself made answer, in 
effect, that for the better observation of the treaty 
she and her husband had sent the ratification to your 
highness . . . and they would omit nothing that might 
tend to the conservation of the same : and that, for * 
her part, she had the more cause to do so, for the near 
parentage which is betwixt your two Majesties/ It is 

May). He was entertained splendidly on his way from Amiens to 4>aris 
at various houses belonging to Constable Montmorenci. At that of ^ 
Escouan, near Paris, they noticed 'upon the gate, as in divers places within 
the house, were set uppe three scutcheons ; the middlemost conteyninge 
the amies of Englande; that on the right hande conteyninge a rose half 
whyte and half redde, and the thurd conteyninge a great E, as it seemed to 
me for vour Highness* name. The lyke we found at our lodgings at Paris/ 
It is evident that this was intended by Montmorenci as a counterstroke to 
the Guises' scutcheons quartering England on Mary's arms, and it demon- 
strates how profoundly the nobility of France was divided between the 
Guisan-papaf party and the 'politicians* who favoured toleration and 
friendship with England. When, later, Throckmorton showed to Mont- 
morenci and protested against die escutcheons bearing the English arms 
Suartered on those of Scotland and France, the Constable, whilst evidently 
isapproving of them, endeavoured to minimise their significance, and 
pointed out that Elizabeth quartered the arms of France upon her own, as 
her ancestors had done, — See letters in Forbes's Public transactions t etc. 


evident that, for the moment at least, the Montmoren- 
cis were again to the fore, and doubtless the Constable 
was glad to get the interview over so well, without the 
Guise interference ; for he hurried the ambassadors 
away on the plea of Mary's 'weaknesse.' Throck- 
morton reported at the same interview that, ' in myne 
opinion she looketh very ill, very pale and grene, and 
therewith all short breathed : and it is whispered here 
amongst them that she cannot long live.' * 

A week later Howard saw her again, for the purpose 
of witnessing her oath to the peace treaty with Scot- 
land. On this occasion she conspicuously took the 
lead, * to speake more than her husband ' ; and said 
that, being Elizabeth's good-sister and cousin, she was 
rejoiced at the peace that had been concluded. She 
was indeed, so far as words went, most emphatic in 
her professions of a desire to live on good terms with 
England. Henry n. also, now that Montmorenci, his 
old friend and mentor, was by his side, excelled himself 
in polite attentions to Elizabeth's representatives ; but 
Cardinal Lorraine, ever fertile in expedients, cleverly 
arranged for the King to proceed in June on a series 
of visits to houses belonging to the Montmorencis 
and Diane de Poictiers, thus securing a free hand 
for himself in Paris, at least for several weeks. 

The effect of this manoeuvre soon became apparent. 
Mary Stuart was ill at the time : swooned once in 
church, and repeatedly after eating, and was reported 
by the Spaniards to be suffering from an incurable 
malady; but still the activity of her friends was 
unabated. Apart from other causes, there were 
sufficient in the news she received from Scotland to 

1 Forbes, vol. i., 24th May 1559. 


aggravate her constitutional weakness. The Qjieen- 
Dowager had found the reformers and discontented 
nobles too hard a nut for her to crack. She had broken 
faith with them more than once, and at last attempted 
to capture their leaders by treachery and to suppress 
Scottish religious liberty with French pikes. This 
was too much ; and the Lords of the Congregation 
raised the standard of Protestantism, driving the 
Queen-Regent into Dunbar ; and then through the 
larger towns of the south and east of Scotland a gust 
of fury against the Mass and the priests had swept, 
sparing nothing, however beautiful, that seemed to 
savour of idolatry. That the reform party should 
look to Elizabeth for support was natural, and just as 
natural was it that the Queen-Regent should send, as 
she did, swift couriers to her brothers, craving the aid 
of French arms to cram papacy down the throats of 
the obstinate Scots. Throckmorton therefore watched 
suspiciously and jealously the proceedings of Mary and 
the Guises in Paris whilst the King was away. They 
were winning English Catholics by bribes and pensions 
to join their party; they were inquiring as to the 
number of ships at Elizabeth's disposal ; they were 
busy preparing a strong French force for Scotland, 
under their brother the Marquis d'Elboeuf; and 
already (7th June 1559) the English ambassador was 
persuaded that Mary Stuart and her uncles intended 
at the earliest opportunity to attack Elizabeth, simul- 
taneously on the side of Scotland and in the Channel. 
Doubts even were whispered as to the stability of 
Montmorenci. c The Dolphin (reported Throckmor- 
ton) is counted to be the head of all those doings 
in Scotland ; and it is discoursed that in case the 


Constable be brought to grant to war with us, that it 
is for feare of displeasing the King Dolphin. 9 x 

With such news as this speeding to Elizabeth by 
every courier, it is not surprising that she should on 
her side encourage the Scottish rivals of the house of 
Guise. 3 We have seen in an earlier page how the 
Hamiltons had been ousted from their pre-eminent 
position by French Guisan intrigue. They were, it is 
true, poor creatures, both father and son, but their 
right was undoubted, and they were good enough 
tools for the Queen of England whilst she wanted 
them. The eldest son of the ex-Regent Duke of 
Chatelherault, the Earl of Arran, was in France, 
where he had been reared ; and secret messengers, 
Randolph, Killigrew, and other trusty diplomatists, 
skilled in Scottish affairs, were sent backwards and 
forwards from Elizabeth to him, and to Throckmorton 
in Paris, to urge him to action. This was the time, 
said they, with half Scotland in arms against the 
French and priestly tyranny, for him by a bold stroke 
to seize power as a native prince ; and, with the aid 
of England, to assert his exalted birthright. A more 
splendid bait even than this was held out to him. 
The Queen of England herself was unmarried. What 
if he became a favoured suitor, and ruled over Eng- 
land and Scotland jointly with her. He was nearly 
idiotic, but the suggestion was too tempting to be 
foregone, and he forsook the French for the English. 
But his interviews with English agents, secret though 
they were, did not escape the vigilance of the Guise 

1 Forbes, vol. i. p. 118. 

* Throckmorton, writing early in June 1559, urges the Queen 'to 
nourish and entertain the garboil in Scotland as much as may be/ 


spies, and he was peremptorily summoned to the 
French court to answer for himself. With infinite 
cunning, and through dire danger for both, Killigrew 
managed to smuggle him out of France across the 
Swiss frontier, and afterwards to England, though 
proclamations ordered his capture, dead or alive ; and 
whilst it suited English interests he was used and 
befooled, and so passes for a space out of this history. 1 

It will thus be seen that in June and July 1559 the 
insatiable ambition and unstatesmanlike rashness of 
the Guises and their niece had dragged England and 
Scotland once more to the brink of inevitable war 
before the signatures of the peace treaty were well 
dry. The escutcheon business, puerile as it was, 
whilst useless as an assertion of Mary's claim to 
England, could not fail to irritate Elizabeth ; and 
Throckmorton was ordered to remonstrate with the 
King and the Constable to the effect that * Whatsoever 
the heraulds or paynters shall vaynely devise, no such 
things shall be set forth or published to the world.' 
Signs multiplied that the Guise party intended to force 
a conflict before Elizabeth's throne was secure.' * 

In the course of some feigned suggestions of theirs 
to marry the Duke de Nemours (Jacques of Savoy) 
to the Queen of England, their agent told Throck- 

1 That Manr personally was an approving party to the intrigues for 
which Cardinal Lorraine is usually held responsible, and of which Throck- 
morton says young Francis himself was the head, is proved by the reply 
given by her to M. de Monpesson, who was ordered to capture Arran. 
The Frenchman apologised to the Queen for having to take such measures 
against a kinsman of hers, and she replied that he could do her ' no greater 
pleasure than to use the Earl of Arran as an arrant traitor/ Throckmorton, 
when telling this story to Cecil, recommends that it should be ' insinuated * 
as much as possible into the ears of the Duke of Chatelherault and the 
Hamilton*, in order to irritate them and the Protestants against France. 

* Throckmorton to Cecil, aist June 1559. 


morton that when the suitor asked for Montmorenci's 
support, which the latter would not promise, the 
Constable had said : ' What ! do you not know that 
the Qgeen Dolphin hath right and title to England ? n 
and every day by some such insidious whisper as this 
the breach was made wider. 

The preparations for the ratification of the peace 
between France and Spain, which was to be accom- 
panied by the betrothals of the King's eldest daughter 
Elizabeth to the King of Spain, and his sister Margaret 
to the Duke of Savoy, kept Paris in a fever of excite- 
ment whilst these troubles grew. Rehearsals of the 
martial sports to be exhibited at the ceremony furnished 
interesting preliminary shows to the courtiers ; recep- 
tions of great personages deputed to take part in the 
betrothals kept the royal family and the greater nobles 
busy ; and Mary Stuart and her young husband were 
active figures in all the splendid turmoil, rejoicing 
probably more than any at the thought that the close 
bonds now to be forged between France and Spain 
would secure to the Catholic party a free hand in 
their efforts to dominate Scotland, with ulterior views 
upon England, in favour of Mary Stuart. 

The splendid rejoicings that accompanied the es- 
pousals of the princesses on the 26th and 27th 
June do not nearly concern our subject ; but at the 
great tournament that took place on the 27 th under 
the shadow of Bastille, hard by St. Antoine, it was 
noted that, as Mary Stuart was carried through the 
press in her litter to witness the encounter from the 
royal tribune, her servants cleared the way with shouts 

1 Throckmorton to Cecil, 2i$t June 1559. *** Constable, it must be 
Micttdy twos England *s fritnd. 


of * Place ! place for the Queen of England ! ' and 
when the Dauphin's band of knights began the joust, 
they were preceded by two * Scottish heralds : faire 
set out with the King Dolphin's and the Queen 
Dolphin's arms, with a scutcheon of England set 
forth to the show, as all the world might easily 
perceive, the same being embroidered upon purple 
velvet, and set on with armoury upon their breastes, 
backes and sleaves.' 

Almost hourly the distrust deepened in sight of 
such indications as these. On all hands the rumour 
spread that, now that the dreaded King of Spain was 
Henry's son-in-law, and no longer to be feared, a 
great French force would be sent to re-establish 
the authority of the Queen-Regent and the clergy 
in Scotland, and afterwards to deal with heresy in 
England. With a heavy heart, if not a frowning 
face, it must have been, that Throckmorton sat in 
his gallery on the 30th June to witness the last and 
most pompous of the tournaments that celebrated 
the coalition against the faith of which his Queen was 
champion ; and the triumph, so far as men could see, 
of the Catholic union formed to crush Protestantism 
throughout the world. Henry 11. himself, gallant 
and handsome, proud of his pre-eminence on the 
tilting-ground, rode a big bay war-horse, decked, 
like its rider, with the black and white device of 
the widowed Diane de Poictiers. Foreign soldiers, 
princes of the blood, and the nobles of France, 
crowded the lists in glittering raiment ; and all 
sought to win the approval of the fair spectators 
by their dexterity and grace. It was Henry's 
dominant passion to excel in this exercise. He 



was a fine horseman, and a bold tilter, and, as is 
usual in the case of princes, his performances lost 
nothing from lack of appreciation. On this occasion 
he appeared to be more than usually determined to 
distinguish himself. The encounter was nearly over, 
for the light was waning, and the King, so far, had 
vanquished all comers ; but he lusted still for fresh 
honours, and challenged the Franco-Scotsman, Mont- 
gomerie, Sieur de L'Orge, to run against him. The 
Scotsman at first refused point-blank to tilt against 
his King, and, when pressed, urged many excuses. 
Henry, annoyed at this, insisted upon the challenge, 
now in the form of a command. Catharine de Medici, 
in the meanwhile, desirous of ending the dangerous 
sport, sent a messenger from her tribune to pray her 
husband to tilt no more for that day, but to come and 
receive from her and the ladies the praise due for his 
past prowess. The King had his way in spite of all. 
At the first shock of the combatants Montgomerie's 
lance carried away the King's visor, but was broken 
with the force of the impact ; * and, so with the rest 
of the staff, hitting the King upon the face, gave him 
such a counterbuff as he drove the splint right over 
his eye on his right side, the force of which stroke 
was so vehement, and the pain he had, withal, so 
great, as he was much astonished, and had great ado, 
with reeling to and fro, to keep himself on horseback/ 
The King was at once succoured and disarmed, and 
the wound, not being outwardly large, was thought 
at first not to be dangerous, although * Marry/ says 
Throckmorton, ' I saw a splint taken out of a good 
bigness, and nothing else was done to him on the 
field ; but I noted him to be very weake, and to have 


the sens of all his lymmes almost benommed, for, 
being carried away as he lay along, nothing covered 
but his face, he moved neither hand nor fote, but laye 
as one amased.' Rapidly bearing him across the river 
to the palace of the Tournelles, his officers shut the 
doors against all comers but the two brothers Guise 
and the Constable. 

Gloom fell upon the gaudy merrymakers, and each 
man, by his looks, dumbly asked his neighbour what 
the calamity might portend. The accession of a King 
and Queen, still not much more than children, known 
to be as ductile clay in the hands of the Guises and 
the extreme papal party, meant almost certainly the 
fall of Montmorenci and the moderates, and the 
unchecked and unsparing persecution of the religious 
reformers in France : it meant, sooner or later as it 
seemed, a great national war of conquest against 
England, which, if successful, would result in the 
triumph of the papacy throughout Christendom ; 
and, well as such a programme might suit the 
personal ambition of the Guises, it filled with dismay 
the purely French princes and nobles who had seen 
with delight successive Kings of France break or 
weaken, one by one, the bonds that held their 
national Church in subservience to Rome. 

Whilst the King lay dying at the Tournelles, on 
the third day after his hurt, Cardinal Lorraine with 
his brother and friends summoned a council, and 
urged that rigid means should at once be taken to 
crush the Protestants in Scotland. Mary's bastard 
brother James, who had survived the * evil drogges ' 
at Dieppe, was to be captured and killed, as were the 
Earl of Argyle, Erskine of Dun, and all their friends 


and followers ; and, but for the timely warning sent 
by Throckmorton, the iniquitous plan would have 
been carried out. Nor was this the only step taken 
thus hurriedly by the Guises whilst yet the King, 
with a splinter through his brain, lingered in agony. 
Five thousand soldiers were despatched to the coast 
for embarkation on the warships, the galleys were 
ordered from the Mediterranean to the Channel, and 
all was made ready for the domination of Scotland, 
as a first step towards the subjection of religious 
thought to the papacy, and of Great Britain to 
France. The plan, as has already been pointed 
out, failed because, amongst other shortcomings, 
it overrated the power of religious affinities to 
obliterate traditional national aims and policies. 

On the ioth June 1559 Henry 11. breathed his 
last, and the old Constable, with bitterness in his 
heart, watched ceaselessly until its sepulture by the 
corpse of the King who had loved him better than 
he had loved his own father, and with better reason. 
Swift horses had gone racing to the south of France 
to summon the first prince of the blood, Anthony de 
Bourbon, King of Navarre, whose right it was to share 
the councils of the new King. But Montmorenci 
knew that Anthony was a weak reed to lean upon, 
and that nothing now would withstand the masterful 
Cardinal and his splendid brother, Francis of Guise. 
Too late, the dying King himself had seen the danger, 
and had with his last breath begged Catharine de 
Medici to insist upon exercising a share in the govern- 
ment. But she had to settle her long account now, 
and her first care was to barter with the Guises for the 
disgrace of their patroness and her rival, Diane de 


Poictiers, in return for which she was content for a 
time to stand aside whilst the Cardinal did as he listed 
with Francis 11. and Mary, King and Queen of France 
and Scotland. 

Though all they did must have been tinged with 
the influence of their mentor, neither Mary nor 
her husband was quite a cipher. Francis appears 
to have been a lad of eager ambition, stirred to 
vivacity by the spirit of his wife. He was lying 
sick when the brothers Guise and the Cardinal, with 
the Duke of Nemours, entered his chamber, and 
kneeling, greeted him as King. Francis sprang up 
in almost joyful excitement, protesting that he was 
now well, and ready to accompany them to the 
Louvre to receive the homage of the corporations. 
Followed by his weeping mother and his wife, young 
Francis proceeded triumphantly to perform his first 
ceremonial act as King of France ; but when anything 
beyond ceremony was demanded of him he still turned 
instinctively to stronger spirits than his own. * The 
House of Guise now ruleth/ reported Throckmorton 
only a few days after Henry died, and a fortnight 
later he says: 'the Queen-Mother hath, though not 
in name, yet in deed and effect, the authority of 
Regent . . . ; the state being governed by Cardinal 
Lorraine and the Duke of Guise/ c And, seeing how 
the House of Guise ruleth, with whom I am in very 
small grace, and that the Queen of Scotland, who is a 
great doer here and taketh all upon her, hath so small 
an opinion of me, I shall be able to do small service 
with her/ 

These extracts, and many others to a similar effect 
that could be quoted, demonstrate the positions held 


by the various dramatis persona at this juncture. 
Francis, uxorious, ambitious, and eager, but weak 
and submissive; Mary, keenly alive and responsive 
to the far-reaching policy of her uncles, and, like 
them, determined to do her part with a masterful 
hand ; and finally, Catharine, Queen-Dowager, for 
a time making common cause with the Guises as 
the strongest party, and dissembling her dislike to 
them, in payment for the persecution of Diane de 

Harmony seems to have existed for a time, even, 
between Mary and her mother-in-law. The former, 
we are told by Throckmorton (13th July), was un- 
grateful enough to demand immediately after the 
King's death that Diane de Poictiers should 'make 
accompt of the French King's cabinet, and of all his 
jewels * ; and she in her letters goes so far as to speak 
sympathetically of Catharine's sorrow in her bereave- 
ment. 'She is so much troubled still at the illness 
and death of the late King, that I fear she will fall 
seriously sick of grief — I think that, were it not that 
the King her son is so obedient that he will do nothing 
but what she wishes, she would soon die, which would 
be the worst thing that could happen to this poor 
country, and to all of us.' 1 To judge, indeed, from 
Mary's own correspondence and the observation of 
contemporary writers, they seemed to have been an 
exceedingly united family for the few months after 
Henry's death. Mary never fails to praise her 
husband for his goodness ; and it is evident that he, 
for his part, was more * eperdument epris ' of her than 

1 Mary to her mother (Labanoff, vol. i. p. 72). 


That Mary had gained entire power over her hus- 
band, and knew it, is shown by a letter she wrote to 
her mother in the early spring of 1560. The cause 
of the papal party had been going badly in Scotland. 
The expedition of the Marquis d'Elbaeuf to aid his 
sister Mary of Guise had been dispersed by storm, 
and the Queen of England's army and navy, sup- 
porting the Lords of the Congregation headed by 
Chatelherault and his son, had driven the French 
soldiers of the Queen-Regent into their fortress of 
Leith. Mary of Guise herself had been formally 
deposed from the Regency by the lords, and both the 
English and Scottish Protestants had assumed the 
authority of Mary to abolish the government of 
foreigners by force in Scotland. Cunning William 
Maitland of Lethington, the brain of the revolt, fiery 
Knox the tongue of it, and Kirkaldy of Grange the 
strong arm, with the ambitious Stuart bastard, had 
together contrived to weld into a solid force Scottish 
impatience of religious dictation, and patriotic re- 
pugnance to armed foreign government; England 
was now openly in the field on the side of the Scots 
as against France — a fit return for the pretensions of 
Francis and Mary to the crown of England. 

The inevitable reaction against the Guises had, 
moreover, taken place in France. The Bourbon 
princes, and some of the most powerful nobles, smiled 
upon the growing power of the Huguenots, and the 
conspiracy discovered against the Guises at Amboise, 
and the bad blood caused by the subsequent execu- 
tions (March 1560), had put the Guises on the 
defensive ; and to all the prayers of their despairing 
and beleaguered sister in Scotland they were forced to 


send but a faltering answer. At this juncture it was 
that Mary wrote comforting her mother, now closely 
beset by enemies in Edinburgh Castle. 1 1 can assure 
you/ she writes, * that the King has so much care to 
succour you that you cannot fail to be content with 
him. He has promised me to do so, and I will not 
let him forget it, nor the Queen either, who has 
honoured us by weeping at your troubles. I have 
urged her so, that I am sure that she will not fail to 
send you all the help she can.' 1 

Francis in the meanwhile had grown very rapidly, 
and was now sixteen, but his health was still delicate, 
as was that of Mary herself. Vicomte de Noailles, 
dining with Throckmorton in the autumn of 1559, 
told him that her weakness was increasing to such an 
extent that she could not live long, and the Spanish 
ambassador was eager to carry the news to him, that 
€ she looked very evil ' at dinner ; ' and was so weake, 
as even before all the presence that was there, she fell 
on swooning, and was in very dangerous case, as she 
always is after a meale. When she was with aqua 
composita and other things revived . . . she retired/ 
The royal couple, however, notwithstanding their poor 
health, continued for the great part of the autumn 
and spring in progresses through Central and Eastern 
France. The coronation at Rheims was followed by 
a series of journeys in which, contrary to previous 
custom, the houses of the great nobles were avoided, 
the stopping-places usually being either royal palaces 
or those belonging to the house of Lorraine." Mary 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. p. 71. 

8 The entrance of Francis and Mary into Arran's forfeited town of 
Chatelherault is thus described by Throckmorton (29th November 1559) : 
' The Quenc, who came first, was received by the burgeois and convoyde 


Stuart's jointure of sixty thousand livres was to be 
drawn from Touraine, and it was to this part of 
France that she affected particular attachment. The 
beautiful young Queen therefore received such a 
welcome, with her husband, at their entry into Tours, 
and subsequently at Chenonceau, as to have inspired 
poets and chroniclers to record in glowing language 
this, the brief bright summer of Mary's life. 1 

But behind all the extravagant rejoicing and eulogy 
of the * divine Francis,' there lurked a grisly spectre 
that refused to be conjured away. No effective aid 
could be sent to Scotland ; for three-quarters of the 
French nobles shrank away from the Guises, and even 
Navarre, the first prince of the blood, was meeting 
the English ambassador, disguised and at night, in 
order to- express his adhesion to the Queen of England 
and her party, as against Mary and her uncles. The 
French troops were in hopeless case shut up in Leith, 

to the palicc, having a canapy of crimson damask, the arms of England, 
France, and Scotland quartered thereon, carried over her by foure of the 
townsmen. The King, coming after, was in like sort received, and had 
carried over him a canopy of purple damask with the armes of France 
only. There were two gates of the towne paineted, through which they 
passed ; on the right sides whereof were set forth the armes of France with 
the King's name, and on the left sides the armes of England, France, and 
Scotland, quartered, with the Quene's name. Upon which gates, under- 
neath the King's and Quene's pictures, were set forth the verses in golden 
letters which we send your Majesty here enclosed/ The following was 
one of the verses : — 

' Gallia perpetuis pugnaxque Britannia belli*. 
Olim odio inter se dimicuere pari, 
Nunc Gallot totoque remote* orb* britannoa, 
Umun dot Maria; cogit in imperium. 
Ergo pace potet Francisce quod omnibus armis, 
Milk patrea annit non potnere tui.' 

Francis and Mary had gone to Chatelherault to accompany thus far 
Elizabeth of Valois on her journey to wed Philip n. 

1 See Les Iriomphes de Chenonceau, a contemporary tract, reprinted by 
Prince Galitzin, Paris, 1857, and PopUniere, Hutmre de France, 1 550-158 x. 


and beleaguered by land and sea; and the rash and 
foolish assertion of Mary's claim to be Queen of 
England without sufficient power available to force 
the claim, had already placed her in dire danger of 
losing the crown of Scotland itself. Young Francis, 
too, who had overgrown his scanty strength, began to 
develop symptoms of a disease that might have been 
expected to appear in the grandson of Francis i. As 
his mother and Cardinal Lorraine carried him from 
one place to another in search of health for him, the 
enemies of the Guises spread a hideous rumour that 
the premature decay from which he suffered could 
only be remedied by the administration of baths con- 
sisting of the blood of newly killed infants. As the 
poor lad was carried through his realm, the people 
turned in horror from him, and children were hidden 
until the royal train had passed far on its way. 
Mary consoled him as best she might, stricken, as 
she herself was, with the deadly fear for her own 
mother, pining away in far Scotland amidst those who 
hated her faith and her house ; but the defection of his 
people struck Francis to the heart, and he grew more 
feeble and unhappy as the evil consequences of the 
Guise policy became increasingly apparent. 

In February 1560 even Cardinal Lorraine himself 
began to get frightened at the strength of his 
opponents, 1 and he entered into negotiations with 
Elizabeth of England, but for a long time without 
success. Philip 11. was almost equally anxious to 

1 Cardinal Lorraine approached Throckmorton first in February, and 
had a long interview with him at Amboise, in which he artfully minimised 
his action in Scotland. He also sent his henchman, Monhic, Bishop of 
Valence, to Elizabeth with a similar object in March. Mary herself turned 
angrily upon her uncles and said they had lost her realm. 


arrange matters, and urged both the English and 
French to come to terms. 1 He had just entered into 
the Catholic league with France, but there was nothing 
that suited him less -than that Mary Stuart, practically 
a French princess, should establish a claim to the 
crown of England. His aim was to disarm Elizabeth 
as soon as possible by her marriage to some husband 
favourable to him, and that the birth of heirs to her 
crown should effectually shut out the French from 
England. Notwithstanding Mary's own smiling 
assurance to Throckmorton that her 'good sister* 
Elizabeth should find her c a better neighbour than 
the rebels/ Elizabeth would not, and did not, slacken 
for a moment the siege of Leith; and the unfortunate 
Queen-Dowager in Edinburgh Castle slowly broke her 
heart at the failure of her brothers to justify by suffi- 
cient force the aggressive policy they had imposed 
upon her. Mary loved her mother dearly — indeed, 
her affections were intense wherever they were placed 
— and when she heard in April that the Dowager's 
life was in grave danger she was inconsolable. She 
refused comfort, even from her husband, and finally 
herself took to her bed, ill with grief. At length, 
worn out with trouble and responsibility, Mary of 
Guise died in Edinburgh Castle at midnight on the 
10th June 1560.* For many days after the news came 
none dared tell it to her daughter, and when finally 
Mary heard of her mother's death, c she passed from 
one agony to another/ 3 until her own life was despaired 
of. With this bitter blow, the declining health of the 

1 The correspondence of the special Flemish agent Glajon sent to 
England for the purpose is calendared in vol. i. of the Spanish Statt Papers 
of Elizabeth (Hume). 

1 Diurnal qf Occurrents. • Venetian State Papers, vol. vii. 


young King, and the consolidation of the anti-papal I 

party in France under the Bourbon princes, the Guises ' 

were perforce obliged to confess themselves beaten and 
subscribe to Elizabeth's hard conditions. 1 

On the 6th July 1560 the Treaty of Edinburgh 
was signed, by which the French troops were to be 
immediately withdrawn from Scotland, except a few at 
Dunbar and the Inch, and in the future no foreign 
soldiers were to be sent to Scotland without the con- 
sent of the Scottish parliament, 3 which assembly, or | 
rather the Congregation, was in future to be supreme, ' 
the government being thus made more absolutely a 
constitutional monarchy than even England was at the 
time. The right of Elizabeth to the crown of England 
was unreservedly acknowledged in the treaty. To 
this pass had the unstatesmanlike disregard to oppos- 
ing forces on the part of Cardinal Lorraine led the 
interests of the cause he was supposed to serve. The 
triumph of Mary Stuart's marriage with Francis was 1 
more than neutralised by the hurry of the Guises to \ 
reap advantage from the union. Mary Stuart's first I 
c love affair,' if her marriage with Francis can be so . 
called, was the foundation of all the calamities that 
subsequently befell her. It may be contended that, in 1 
any case, as Queen-Consort of France and Queen- 
Regnant of Scotland, under a Guise tutelage, a conflict 

1 Mary of Guise herself on her deathbed recognised how fatal had been 
her brother's ambitious policy with regard to England and Scotland. She 
saw James Stuart (Murray) and other leaders of the Congregation, and 
admitted the unwisdom or the policy she had been forced to carry out, 
begging them as a last resource at least to be loyal to their sovereign, her 

* By parliament was understood an assembly of the bishops, titular 
abbots, and nobles, with a few members to represent the burgesses of the 
greater towns, but in practice the higher nobles, each attended by an armed 
retinue, usually disposed of matters as they pleased. 


with Elizabeth and the Protestants would have been 
inevitable sooner or later, but it must be recollected 
that, without the forces of France behind them, even 
the Guises would have been powerless, and but for 
Mary Stuart's fascination and dominion over her 
youthful husband, the resources of his realm — or even 
the threat of employing them against the Scottish 
Protestants — would not have been at the unchecked 
disposal of Cardinal Lorraine. The most powerful 
nobles in France, the Bourbons, the Chatillons, and 
the Montmorencis were opposed to the coercion of 
Scotland and the irritation of England by French 
arms. Catharine de Medici, with no religious con- 
viction, and jealously distrustful of Guise influence, 
would have been only too glad, as events afterwards 
proved, to hold a middle course and keep friendly 
with Elizabeth; and against all these elements Car- 
dinal Lorraine and his brothers would have been 
powerless but for the essential fact that their niece 
exerted absolute dominion over her enamoured boy- 
husband, whose will, however swayed, none in France 
might dare to withstand. 

The clouds darkened over France during the 
autumn of 1560. The terms of the Treaty of 
Edinburgh were hard for Frenchmen to stomach, but 
the proceedings of the Scottish parliament in August 
made things even more difficult than before. The 
papal jurisdiction in Scotland was abolished, a com- 
plete Presbyterian organisation was established, and 
the celebration or hearing of mass was made punish- 
able by heavy penalties and even by death. It is 
certain .that, as the Venetian ambassador writes, no 
King of France could ratify a treaty that produced 


such results as these, except with a rope round his 
neck. 1 It is quite evident, moreover, from the letters 
of the French plenipotentiaries at Edinburgh, that 
notwithstanding the full powers granted to them by 
Francis and Maty, there was no real intention from 
the first to ratify the treaty thus forced upon them. 2 
Mary herself made no secret of her anger in her 
interview with Throckmorton on the subject. 8 The 
existence of the treaty, nevertheless, and the urgency 
of Elizabeth to obtain a due ratification of it, intensi- 
fied the opposition of the French nobles to the Guises, 
Cardinal Lorraine especially being profoundly hated 
as the principal author of such a humiliation. The 
Bourbon Prince of Conde, Anthony of Navarre's 
brother, had been treacherously cast into prison on 
a charge of complicity in the Huguenot plot at 
Amboise, and the first war of religion in France was 
now hurrying towards its commencement. Catharine 
the Queen-Mother was already taking a more pro- 
minent share in the government, seated by the side 
and even taking precedence of Mary Stuart ; for the 
growing weakness of Francis foreshadowed her own 
supremacy, and her keen intellect was busily engaged 
in conciliating or dominating various interests, in 
preparation for the great change that she knew was 

The royal family were moving from one palace to 
the other in Central France, and on the 18 th Novem- 
ber were to proceed from Orleans to Chenonceau. 
On the 17th, however, Catharine, alarmed at her son's 
condition, insisted upon his taking to his bed. The 

1 Venetian Calendar > vol. vii. * Teulct, Papiers <TEtat, vol. i. p. 605. 
8 Foreign Calendar > Elizabeth, vol. iii. 


illness was nothing, said the courtiers, anxious to curry 
favour with Lorraine. A mother's fears had exag- 
gerated the gravity of it, they insisted ; others asserted 
that it was a mere device of the Guises to keep the 
King from being worried by petitions on his way. 
But on the next day, and the next, faces grew graver 
at Orleans. The lad, reduced by frequent low fevers, 1 
and enfeebled, as Throckmorton says, by ' his too 
timely and inordinate exercise now in his youth,' the 
natural result of too early a marriage, was unable to 
withstand the inflammatory disease that had attacked 
him in one of his ears and his brain. Mary was 
unceasing in her devotion to her husband, 2 she, 
Catharine de Medici, and the three Guise brothers 
being alone admitted to his presence. Mary Stuart 
and her uncles, indeed, were the only persons in the 
world who had reason to dread the King's death. 
Cardinal Lorraine for some time previously had been 
plotting a murderous blow at the Huguenots, and 
exacting pledges of orthodoxy from all those about 
the court ; and there was hardly a man in France or 
Scotland so dull as not to know that upon the ebbing 
days of the youthful monarch there depended the 
lives or liberties of thousands, perhaps the fate of 
the religious freedom of the world. 

When at length, on the 5th December 1560, 
Francis 11. breathed his last, after a disastrous reign 
of sixteen months, there was no one to weep for him 
but his young widow. Catharine leapt at one bound 
to the supreme power as Regent for the new King 

1 A week before hit fatal attack he had fainted at vespers in the palace 
chapel, from mere weakness. 
* Throckmorton to the Queen, 6th November 1560 {Foreign Calendar). 


Charles ix. ; the Bourbons, the Montmorencis, the 
Chatillons, and the great reform party in France, 
England, and Scotland, found themselves freed, as if 
from a dread nightmare, 1 for the most unpopular man 
in France, Cardinal Lorraine, was no longer supreme 
master, and the fascinations of his niece had lost their 
potency to command the resources of a great nation 
and serve the policy of her mother's house. Catha- 
rine made but small pretence of mourning her son, 
who had been more amenable to his wife than to her, 2 
though the loose accusations against her of having 
hastened his death by poison are absurd, seeing that 
the cause of his death was undoubted. Still less credible 
is the assertion said to have been made by Leslie, 
Bishop of Ross, many years afterwards, that Mary 
had poisoned her first husband. 8 She, as we have 
seen, was the principal, if not the only sufferer 
by his death, and, malicious innuendo apart, every 
piece of evidence goes to prove that she was 
overwhelmed with grief at his death. Throckmorton, 
writing to Elizabeth on the 6th December, says she 
was 'as heavy and dolorous a wife as of right she 
had good cause to be, who by long watching with him 
during his sickness, and painful diligence about him, 
and specially by the issue thereof, is not in the best 
tune of her body' ; and the testimony of the Venetian 
ambassador fully confirms this view. c So, by degrees, 
every one will forget the death of the King, except 

1 Sir James Melville says that the King of Navarre, his brother the 
Prince of Conde, and others were to have been executed three days later, 
the scaffold having been already erected (MehnlU Memoirs). Throck- 
morton, too, told Elizabeth that she had cause for rejoicing. 

* Melville asserts that she was glad of his death. 

3 Hatfield Papers, vol. i. 


the young Queen his widow, who being no less noble- 
minded than beautiful and graceful in appearance, the 
thoughts of widowhood at so early an age, and the 
loss of a consort . . . who so dearly loved her, and 
also that she is dispossessed of the crown of France, 
with little hope of recovering that of Scotland, which 
is her sole patrimony and dower, so affect her that she 
will not receive any consolation, but brooding over her 
disasters, with constant tears and passionate and doleful 
lamentations, she universally inspires great pity.' 1 

This was written only three days after the death of 
Francis ; but for weeks later Mary remained isolated 
and shut out from the light of day, seeing no men but 
the new King, a boy of nine, his younger brother, the 
King of Navarre, Constable Montmorenci, and her 
uncles. 2 Brantome's testimony as to Mary's intense 
sorrow for her loss is very valuable. He says that, 
whilst he knew her, she never recovered from the 
pallor which her grief produced on her face. It is a 
somewhat curious reflection that has not, I think, yet 
been made, that the oft-quoted poem, written by 
Mary herself on her bereavement, tender as it is, gives 
us a key to the real state of her feelings, and to the 
apparently contradictory contemporary statements with 
regard to them. 3 Throughout the poem it is her own 
condition that she pities. Not a word of sorrow for 
the premature cutting-ofF of the life of young Francis, 
or grief at the suffering he had borne. 

' Qui en mon doux printems, 
Et fleur de ma jeunesse, 

1 Venetian Calendar, vol. vii. 

* Foreign Calendar , Throckmorton to the Council, 31st December 1560. 
3 Throckmorton, for instance, writing on the 6th December, speaks of 
her as already speculating upon a political second marriage. 



Toutes lea peines sens 
D'une extreme tristesse : 
Et en rien n'ay plaisir 
Qu'en regret et desir.' 

Her own loss of pleasure, the waste of her beauty and 
youth, the absence of something that ministered to her 
individual wellbeing, the occurrence of a misfortune 
that condemns her to 

« En soupirs cuisants 
Passer me* meillenrs ans,' 

are the main burden of her railings against fate. 
There is no reason whatever to doubt her sincerity in 
this respect; and the discontented pity she felt for 
herself, at having her life and ambitions thus early 
dislocated, was quite compatible with a keen watchful- 
ness through her tears for another chance that might 
restore to her a position as advantageous as that which 
she held before her husband's death. We shall have 
other opportunities of observing that this note of 
essential selfishness is present in all the pathetic 
lamentations in which 'Mary indulged for her many 
subsequent afflictions. She always bids for pity for her 
own sufferings or disasters, and bewails her own hard 
fate, without a thought, apparently, for those who 
suffered for her cause. In her writings, as in her acts, 
we see the passionate woman avid for enjoyment, and 
resentful of anything that deprived her of the sensuous 
delight of life. The plaintive beauty who appeals to 
the pity of men, in sorrow and distress, wields the 
most powerful weapon in the feminine armoury; and 
when her claim is only that youth and loveliness 
should be happy, her fascination is irresistible. The 
weeping widow, disfigured and faded with grief, 


thinking nothing of herself, but only of the one that 
has gone, appeals to no one, and attracts no one, 
except from a broad charity for human suffering ; but 
she who only bemoans her own sad state instinctively 
asks for sympathy and consolation, by which the 
happiness she yearns for may be restored, and pity, 
love, and hope are inspired in the hearts of men by 
her complaints. This appears to have been the case 
with Mary, and doubtless contributed not a little to 
the extraordinary sympathy she always excited in 
her distress. 

On the very day of the King's death Throck- 
morton sounded the alarm as to Mary's possible 
second marriage. Everything was in confusion at 
Orleans. The Guises, thought Throckmorton, would 
not surrender their supremacy without an armed 
struggle; and 'if things be slept till the house of 
Guise (if they have the government and disposing of 
the new King and this realm as they had) find the 
means to marry their niece to the said new King . . . 
things will remain in the same state they are now in/ l 
Brantome, like a good Guisan as he was, says that 
King Charles was afterwards madly in love with his 
sister-in-law, and would have married her if he had 
had his own way; 3 and the English ambassador 
probably read Mary's character aright when he said 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. Hi., 6th December 1560. 

* Sur quoy ne faut doubter nullement, si lors de son (1./. Mary's) parte- 
ment, le feu roy Charles, son beau frere, fust ette" en age accompfy, comme 
il etait fort petit et jeune, et ausst s'il fust este en Thumeur et amour d'elle, 
comme je Pay veu, jamais il ne Teust laissee partir, et resolument il Teust 
espousee : car je Ten ay veu tellement amoureux que jamais il ne regardait 
son pourtraict qu'il n'y tinst Toeuil tellement fixe et ravy, qu'il ne s'en 
pouvait jamais oster n'y s'en rassasier; et dire souvent que c'etait la plus 
belle princesse que nasquit jamais au monde : et tenait le feu roy son frere 
par trop hereux d'avoir jouy d'une si belle princesse, et qu'il ne debvoit 


that, as far as he could learn, she would have no 
objection to such a match, as * she more esteemeth the 
continuation of her honour, and to marry one that 
may uphold her to be great, than she passeth to please 
her fancy by taking one that is accompanied with 
such small benefit or alliance as thereby her estimation 
and fame is not increased/ Almost with vehemence, 
therefore, Throckmorton urged his mistress to seize 
the opportunity of approaching the Queen-Mother 
and Anthony of Navarre with messages of sympathy, 
and thus to strengthen their hands against the Guises 
and the papal party. Elizabeth lost no time in acting 
upon the advice ; but before the Earl of Bedford 
could be despatched upon the mission all Europe was 
planning marriages for Mary Stuart. 

Chamberlain, the English ambassador in Madrid, 
saw the Duke of Alba soon after the news of the 
death of Francis arrived there (22nd December), and 
the conversation naturally drifted to the subject. Did 
the Duke think that the French would allow Mary to 
return to Scotland? tentatively asked Chamberlain. 
* No : they probably would not,' replied Alba ; * but 
rather that they would seek to have the disposing ot 
her again. God had diverted the French intents this 
time/ continued he, ' but Elizabeth had better be well 
prepared, for their intents were evil enough, and would 
have burst out within less than three months.' l * The 

nullement regretter sa mort dans le tumbeau, puis'que il avoit possede en ce 
monde ceste beaute, et son plaisir pour si peu d'espace de temps qu'il eust 
possedee, et que telle jouissance valloit plus que celle de son royaume. — 
Dames IBustres. 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. iii. This spiteful remark of Alba I gives the 
measure of sincerity of the new Franco-Spanish alliance, just cemented by 
the marriage of Philip n. with Elizabeth of France. Even to bigoted 
Alba a heretic England under Elizabeth was better than a Catholic 
England under French influence. 


discourse of this court/ says Chamberlain, * upon the 
Scottish Queen-widow are diverse : some think with 
dispensation the French will seek to match her with 
the new King ; others with one of the uncles, the 
Prior of St. John ; some talk of the Prince of Spain. 
. . . Others remember the King of Denmark, and 
the new King of Sweden/ Randolph, the English 
agent in Scotland, reported that the Scots were talking 
of a match with the King of Denmark (27th Decem- 
ber). The King of Navarre was anxious that the 
Earl of Arran should be the happy man ; * whilst the 
Guises, promptly recognising that Catharine would 
never let her little son Charles, however lovelorn he 
might be, fall into the net of Mary and her uncles as 
his brother had done, strove their utmost to promote 
a marriage between their niece and Philip's only son, 2 
Don Carlos. Philip feigned to entertain the idea, for 
it was a powerful lever by which he might move 
Elizabeth to his ends ; and Chantonnay, the Spanish 
ambassador, and Don Juan Manriquez, who travelled 

1 Arran immediately snapped at the bait. He had already found out 
that Elizabeth had only made a tool of him, and he sent a Captain Forbes 
hurrying to Anthony of Navarre, with all sorts of pledges and promises. 
He had been told * how patent a way God hath made to match him, being 
heir-apparent, with her that is already in the right of succession/ Knox 
was a strong supporter of the idea, and, in fact, the match seemed to be 
that best suited to secure peace for Scotland. It is plain, however, that 
Mary would never have consented to it, though she was very gracious to 
Forbes when she saw him, nor was Elizabeth in love with the idea. She 
knew how weak and unstable Arran was, and that he would be mere clay 
in the hands of Mary and Lorraine {Scottish Calendar, vol. i., Bain). 
Chatelherault also was against his son's marriage with Mary, whom he 
deeply distrusted ; and Arran himself soon grew alarmed, and went to 
Randolph full of excuses to be sent to Elizabeth (Randolph to Cecil, 
Foreign Calendar, vol. iv., March 4, 1561). 

2 The first proposal of such a marriage was made by Cardinal Lorraine 
himself, late in December, to Chantonnay (Cardinal de Granvelle's brother, 
and in after years a leader in the Flemish revolt against the Spaniards, but 
at this time Spanish ambassador in Paris). — Teulet, Papiers tfEtat. 


from Madrid ostensibly to condole with Catharine for 
the death of her eldest son, both paid exaggerated 
court for a time to Mary Stuart and Cardinal 
Lorraine. 1 The retort to this on the part of England 
was an equal show of cordiality by Elizabeth to 
Catharine, Navarre, and the Huguenots j 1 whilst at the 
same time she opened negotiations with the Spanish 
ambassador in London, Bishop Quadra, for her own 
marriage with Robert Dudley under Spanish auspices, 
and the reconciliation of England with the papacy by 
means of a Council of Trent. 1 

Bedford left for France at the end of January, 
nominally to condole with Catharine and Charles on 
the death of Francis, but really to checkmate the 
Guise plans for Mary Stuart's marriage. He was to 
demand the ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh, 
and to reproach Cardinal Lorraine for past proceed- 
ings, whilst professing a desire for amity with Mary 
in future. Mary herself was to be addressed in 
similar terms, and to be urged to banish distrust of 
the English intervention and the civil and religious 
changes in her realm. But above all Bedford was to 
keep in close touch with Navarre and his party, and 
with the Protestant Duchess of Ferrara (Renee of 
France). Bedford and Throckmorton were to Ex- 
plore the likelihood of the marriage of the Scottish 
Queen ; wherein they shall employ their devices to 
procure it to be either in her own country, or in such 
place as may least augment her strength ; and if they 
shall see any disposition in the house of Guise to seek 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. iii. 

* Spanish Calendar \ Elizabeth, vol. i., where a full account of this curious 
intrigue will be found. 


marriage with Spain or Austria, they shall solicit the 
King of Navarre ' (and also the Duchess of Ferrara), 
( in secret manner, to impeach it, as a thing that shall 
tend to his great detriment/ * 

Bedford and Throckmorton, in consequence of the 
illness of the latter, were not received by Catharine 
until the 16th February at Fontainebleau, where 
splendid preparations had been made for their 
entertainment After their formal condolences to 
Charles ix. and his mother, the ambassadors were 
conducted by the Duke of Guise (Cardinal Lorraine 
having already retired defeated to Rheims) to Mary 
Stuart's chamber. She was very * sorrowful of look 
and speech,' and replied to Elizabeth's condolences 
somewhat tartly that c as the Queen now shows the 
part of a good sister, whereof she has great need, she 
will endeavour to be equal with her in goodwill.' At 
subsequent interviews with Catharine they found her 
full of cordiality and desire to be friendly with Eliza- 
beth, but not by any means inclined to play with her 
cards on the table, and to pronounce wholly in favour 
of the Huguenot party, as Navarre and his brother 
Cond6 had done. Mary Stuart was even more 
cautious, and, when asked to ratify the Treaty of 
Edinburgh, replied that, Cardinal Lorraine being 
absent, she had been unable to take counsel on the 
subject, as Elizabeth recommended her to do, but 
would give an answer later. When at a subsequent 
interview she was again pressed to ratify the treaty, 
she replied that she must consult the Scottish nobles 
first. It was not until the eve of Bedford's departure 

1 The Duchess of Ferrara's aid was to be invoked on religious grounds 


that he and Throckmorton spoke to Navarre about 
Mary's marriage. In reply to their approaches the 
titular King assured them that the match in hand was 
not with Don Carlos, but with the Duke of Austria, 
about which match the Emperor's ambassador had 
recently been closeted with Cardinal Lorraine. 1 'How 
can you prevent it ? ' asked Anthony, in reply to 
Bedford's exclamation of dissent. 'Well,' replied 
Throckmorton, ' whilst she remains in court, at least, 
nothing of the sort could be settled without our 
knowing it ; but if she went, as was intended, to 
Joinville, on the skirts of Lorraine, and not far 
from Germany, it might be secretly carried through.' 
Navarre promised to do his best to prevent Mary's 
journey to Joinville, but added, turning to Throck- 
morton, ' But, Master Ambassador, I told you a remedy 
against this mischief, whereunto you make me none 
answer : you know what I mean.' 2 

The efforts of Navarre were effectual in delaying 
but for a short time Mary's projected journey to 
Lorraine. She left Fontainebleau a month later, and 
after a day in Paris, occupied in choosing fit dresses 
and adornments from her wardrobe, she proceeded 
direct to Rheims (20th March). There were assem- 

1 Probably the Archduke Charles, the second son of the Emperor 
Ferdinand, who was the standing Austro-Spanish pretender to the hand ot 
Elizabeth. For particulars of his wooing see Courtships of Queen Elizabeth 

8 Anthony shortly afterwards sent an envoy, M. de Sault, to see Elizabeth 
on some mysterious business, probably the marriage referred to, which may 
have been, as suggested by Mr. Hay Fleming, that of Anthony himself 
with Mary. If such were the case it gives us one more proof of the King 
of Navarre's unstable levity. As first prince of the blood, and consort of 
the strong-minded Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre, it is difficult to see 
how his position could have been improved by a marriage with Mary, 
and still more difficult to understand how it could have been legally 


bled all the Guise brothers and their mother, and the 
air was thick with marriage intrigues. The Prince 
of Orange's sister, the Duchess of Arschot, was there, 
which made Throckmorton nervous of a possible 
marriage in that direction. 1 The King of Denmark's 
envoy arrived in Paris with an offer of his master's 
hand for Mary immediately after the latter had left, 
and he too wended his way eastward to see her. But 
what was most feared by Elizabeth and her ministers 
was that Mary's stay at Rheims, Joinville, and Nancy 
might afford an opportunity for a sudden conclusion 
of a wedding with one of the Archdukes of Austria, 
who had been hankering around the bait of the 
English queen until her astute coquetry and Dudley's 
manoeuvres had made them despair. 

But the Guises were bidding for higher game even 
than this. The religious divisions in France were 
rapidly coming to a head. It was evident that the 
papal party, for the time at least, was in the back- 
ground ; and that the Queen-Regent had no intention 
of allowing the Guises again to grasp the supreme 
power. The Guises cared nothing for France, as was 
proved later, and they doubtless thought it in any 
case legitimate to counterbalance the Bourbon and 
Huguenot approaches to England by a close alliance 
between themselves and Spain ; though France might 
be deluged with blood, and suffer eventual dismember- 
ment as a result. Cardinal Lorraine feigned entire 
absorption in his religious duties at Rheims, but 
Catharine disbelieved him, as she had reason to do ; 

1 The real reason for the Duchess's visit was to discuss the negotiations 
proposed by Cardinal Lorraine for Mary's marriage with Don Carlos. 
(See letter from Catharine to the Bishop of Limoges in Chanel's Marie 
Stuart $t Catharine d$ Medici.) 


and his numerous letters to Spain proposing his 
niece's marriage with Don Carlos were accompanied 
by others more numerous still from the Queen-Regent 
to her daughter Elizabeth, Philip's wife, and to her 
ambassador, Monluc, imploring them to prevent any 
such arrangement, which she well knew would destroy 
the religious balance in France upon which her tenure 
of power rested. All sorts of hints were thrown out by 
her to dissuade Philip from such a match. Her own 
daughter Margaret of France might marry Carlos; 1 
she herself would go south and meet Philip to cement 
with him a strict Catholic alliance; the King of 
Navarre would submit to Spain and be a good 
Catholic. These and a host of other clouds were 
raised by Catharine to cast a shadow upon the Guise 
plans and prevent what would have been gall and 
wormwood to her, the elevation of Mary Stuart to a 
commanding position and the restoration of Cardinal 
Lorraine to power. 2 Nor was Elizabeth of England 
idle. She and Dudley once more began to puzzle the 
old Bishop of Aquila in London with half-uttered 
assurances that, if Philip would bless their union, 
England would submit to the Pope and be good 
again. The simultaneous effect of all these influences 
soon shelved for a time the idea of Mary's marriage 
with Don Carlos, and Cardinal Lorraine had to confess 
himself checkmated again by two women. 

Mary herself stayed quietly in the convent at 

1 Cardinal Lorraine's counter-stroke to this suggestion was to bring 
forward a proposal to many Margaret, who was only seven years old, to 
the Prince of Portugal (Du Prat's Elizabeth de VaUns). 

1 The correspondence between Catharine and the French ambassador in 
Spain is in Cheruers Marie Stuart et Catharine de Medici^ and also in Du 
Prat's Elizabeth de Vaku. 


Rheims, of which her aunt Renee of Guise was 
abbess, until the middle of April, and then travelled 
to Joinville to sojourn with her saintly grandmother, 
the Dowager of Guise. What she herself thought of 
the marriage question at the time we do not know at 
first hand. Whilst she yet remained at the French 
court she had sent four Scottish envoys to Scotland to 
carry assurances of regard, and promises of forgiveness 
for past acts, to her people. When these envoys saw 
Lethington at Craigmillar in February they told him 
that, 'to show her subjects how she tenders their 
weal, and the honour of her country, she will not 
apply her mind to marriage, though already many sue 
her, as the King of Spain for his son, and the Kings 
of Sweden and Denmark for themselves, until she be 
in a place to have the advice of her nobles and the 
assent of her people/ 1 But, however sincere this 
promise may have been when it was made, it is 
certain that the active negotiations above referred to 
of Cardinal Lorraine with Spain a few weeks later 
on her behalf cannot have been conducted without 
her full knowledge and consent. 

The antagonistic parties in Scotland were both of 
them naturally anxious to bid for the Queen's support. 
The Catholic section, much larger than was openly 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. The minutes in French of the 
instructions to be given to Preston of Craigmillar, Ogilvy of Findlater, 
Lumsden of Blanern, and Leslie of Auchtermuchty, Mary's envoys to 
Scotland, are printed entire in LabanofF. The documents being purely 
official and bearing no trace of Mary's personal impress, the somewhat 
extravagant expressions of her affection for the Queen-Mother, and of 
sorrow for the loss of her husband, need not be accepted literally. Her 
autograph letter to Philip u. is a much better indication of her real 
feelings. In it she makes no mention of Catharine, but refers to herself 
as ' la plus affligee femme qui soit sous le ciel, m'ayant Dieu privee de 
tout ce qui j'amoyt et tenait cher en cc monde ' (Labanoff, vol. i. p. 91). 


avowed, was in high hopes that Mary's return would 
bring the complete suppression of Protestantism ; and 
a secret convention of Catholic nobles and bishops 
appointed Leslie, afterwards Bishop of Ross, to pro- 
ceed to France for the purpose of advising the Queen. 
The parliament held in Edinburgh, according to 
Mary's request, appointed with a similar object 
James Stuart, Prior of St. Andrews, her illegitimate 
brother. The Protestant party was in a fever of 
apprehension as to the consequences of Mary's 
arrival in Scotland, and was desirous of delaying it 
as long as possible, in order that further assurance of 
English support might be obtained in case of an 
attempt to destroy religious reform by force. James 
Stuart tarried a time in England for the purpose of 
conferring with Cecil ; and Leslie managed to obtain 
audience of Mary before her brother arrived. 

The Queen was on her way from Rheims to 
Lorraine when Leslie met her at the village of 
Vitry (14th April 1561). All that the wit of the 
priest could urge was fervently pressed upon her to 
cause her to beware of the Protestant and English 
party, who, without her consent, had weakened almost 
to extinction her royal prerogative, and had penalised 
the exercise of the faith in which she was so strenuous 
a believer. Above all, said Leslie, let her be cautious 
of the Stuart bastard who had assumed the leadership 
of the party that aimed at reducing her to the position 
of a puppet ruler of a heretic realm. Let him be 
seized in France and rendered powerless for harm, 
and Mary might land in Huntly's country surrounded 
by the Catholic nobles, and c overshadow ' the heretics. 
But Mary knew well that the Catholic party in Scot- 


land was not strong enough without foreign support 
to crush reform, and without a great marriage foreign 
support she could not hope for. So, when James 
Stuart overtook her the following day at St. Dizier, 
she smiled upon him, and brought to bear all the 
battery of her fascinations to win him, her brother, 
to her own side. To this she had been advised by 
her wisest councillors in France, including her Guise 
kinsmen, and indeed, as we see it now, it was her only 
statesmanlike course. Before James's arrival measures 
had been devised by the Guises to bribe him with 
a cardinal's hat and other tempting offers ; and 
Throckmorton was afraid that the temptations would 
be too much for him. Then indeed, he thought, 
would the Protestant and English party in Scotland 
be in a parlous case. 1 But Lord James knew where 
the real strength behind him was ; and as he rode 
with his sister towards Nancy, even her offer to him 
of the regency of Scotland during her absence could 
not win from him a pledge to forsake the friendship 
of Elizabeth of England, or abandon the Protestant 
faith that he had embraced. But she let him go under 
the belief that his commission as temporary ruler of 
Scotland should follow hard upon his heels to Paris, 
and only after his arrival there and his secret con- 
ference with Throckmorton was the news received 
that the Queen had changed her mind, and had 
determined, as was said, to look alone to Huntly 
and the Catholics for support. 2 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. iv. p. 44. 

* Throckmorton says (Foreign Calendar, vol. iv. p. 84) that James gave him 
a full account of what had passed with Mary and the Cardinal, and says 
that she would not allow her brother to accompany her to Nancy 
(Lorraine). This aroused hit and Throckmorton's suspicions that the 


Whatever may have been the influence that caused 
Mary to take this step it was one of the most un- 
fortunate in her life — for it threw down the gauntlet to 
the Queen of England, to the able and unscrupulous 
James, and to the growing power of Protestantism 
which he now led in his sister's realm : the three 
forces which ultimately vanquished her and her cause. 
The Duchess-Dowager of Lorraine at the time was 
that clever Cristina of Denmark, the first cousin of 
Philip ii., and it was she, with her young son the 
Duke and his child-wife Claude of France, that enter- 
tained Mary during her stay. Mary had nothing more 
to hope from Catharine de Medici, who had already 
shown her claws to her daughter-in-law, and there 
was no other power than Spain that could by force 
impose Catholicism upon Scotland and paralyse the 
English influence. All the evidence points towards 
the probability that the further progress made at 
Nancy with the negotiations for a marriage between 
Mary and Don Carlos, or his cousin the Archduke 
Charles, persuaded her that she was now strong 
enough to defy James Stuart and her Protestant 
government. This conclusion is confirmed by the 
fact that her subsequent change of policy, when she 
first arrived in Scotland, coincided with the cooling 
of the idea of a Spanish marriage for her, owing 
to Catharine de Medici's warm approaches towards 
Philip, and Elizabeth's clever matrimonial juggling 
with all of Mary's possible suitors. 

Spanish marriage was afoot. Mary, they said, would not ratify the 
Treaty of Edinburgh until she arrived in Scotland ; nor would she 
marry Arran nor the King of Denmark. She looked no longer 
towards France, says Throckmorton, but rests her hopes alone upon 
the King of Spain. 


To the renewed demands of Elizabeth's envoys that 
she would ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh Mary also 
thought herself strong enough to return a negative 
answer whilst at Nancy and afterwards at Rheims. 
Her arrival in Lorraine had evidently increased in 
some way both her own firmness of purpose and 
her importance in the eyes of others. Whilst at 
Nancy she was entertained splendidly — f beholding 
pleasant farces and plays, and using all kind of 
honourable pastimes within the palace ' ; 1 and upon 
her return to Paris (ioth June), after an attack of 
sickness at Nancy and Joinville, which prevented 
her from attending the coronation of Charles ix. at 
Rheims, she was met in great state a league from 
the city by all the princes of the blood and the 
French nobility, and the King and Queen-Mother 
awaited her outside her lodging. 2 

There was no longer any hesitation as to her voyage 
to her own realm. Scotland had been represented to 
her as a savage and inhospitable land, peopled by 
rebellious and turbulent folk, and a voyage thither 
from the France she had learned to look upon as her 
own country was a dread nightmare to her : 8 but her 
ambition was great, the splendid chance of a marriage 
that should link her to Spain, and place in her hand 
the strength necessary for her purpose and that of 
her uncles, over-rode all other considerations. If she 
could, with her personal fascination and authority, 
gain the permission of hpr government to marry a 
Spanish or Austrian prince under Philip's auspices, 
the highest of her hopes might yet be realised, and 

1 Leslie. * Foreign Calendar, vol. iv. p. 150. 

* Brantome, Dames Uiustres. 


she might live to sit on the throne of a Catholic 
Britain, even if surrounded by Philip's pikemen. 

Throckmorton was fully alive to the dangers of the 
situation. He took the opportunity of Mary's stay 
in Paris to press upon her again (18th June) the 
ratification of the treaty with England, and found 
her, as before, amiably inflexible to all his diplomacy. 
She would do everything in her power to please his 
Queen : every Frenchman should leave Scotland, and 
she hoped that Elizabeth would cease to shelter her 
rebel subjects, but she proudly said she would not 
be constrained by her own people in the matter of 
religion. 'God commanded subjects to be obedient 
to their princes,' she said : she believed her religion 
to be the true one, and nothing on earth would make 
her change it. She would constrain none of her 
subjects; but she hoped that Elizabeth would not 
aid them to constrain her. And, for all Throck- 
morton's religious arguments and dialectical skill, he 
could not move her from this position. His spies 
told him that the Spanish marriage was still being 
dealt with. Philip had said that ' he would be loth to 
marry his son to a process, but that if her matters 
were clear, he knew no party that he would more 
gladly match his son with * ; and, more suo y the Spanish 
king advised Mary to dissemble with the Scots upon her 
first arrival until he was at liberty from the war with 
the Turk : * then she may proceed with rigour against 
those who will persevere in their religion repugnant to 
hers.' 1 

These were the ideas that the hopes of a Spanish 
marriage had nourished in the breast of Mary Stuart 

1 Fmragm CmUmdm-, vol. it. p. 153. 


as the day for her voyage to Scotland approached. 
She had quite recovered the aplomb which for a time 
had failed her after her loss, and in view of the flouts 
of her late mother-in-law. She was striving, as she 
knew, for a great prize, and there was nothing, as yet, 
that hampered her in the full exercise of her high 
natural qualities of statesmanship. She asked for an 
assurance that Elizabeth's navy would not molest her 
on her voyage ; but when the request was somewhat 
churlishly refused unless she would ratify the treaty, 
she expressed her regret that she had asked for what 
she had no need. It is evident from Cecil's letters l 
that the English and some of the Scottish Protestants 
believed that, so long as Mary was prevented from 
going to Scotland and settling matters there, the 
Spanish match would hang fire ; and it is equally 
probable that this was the very reason that determined 
Mary to undertake the voyage at all hazards. 

Throckmorton saw her at St. Germain on the 20th 
July, when he found her chatting with M. d'Oisel, who 
had just arrived from England with Elizabeth's refusal 
of Mary's request. She rose as the English ambas- 
sador entered the chamber, and having heard from him 
his mistress's message, she gave a truly feline scratch to 
Elizabeth by bidding those present to retire out of 
hearing, as f she knew not well her own infirmity, nor 
how far with passion she might be transported ; but 
she liked not to have so many witnesses of her passions 
as his mistress had, when she talked with M. d'Oisel.' 8 
Then with exquisite skill she blended, in a long address, 
innocent surprise at Elizabeth's attitude, indignation at 
unfriendly acts and unfounded suspicions, and veiled 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. iv. p. 187, etc. 2 Ibid. 



threats that she was not without powerful friends : but 
as to the ratification not an inch would she budge. 
All the past acts had been done by her late consort 
and her uncles : she now stood alone and upon another 
footing, and would take no steps until her council in 
Scotland had advised her. When later in the day the 
English ambassador took leave of her for the purpose 
of discovering, if he could, when and how she proposed 
to sail, she told him that she hoped the wind would 
be so favourable that she need not come to the English 
coast ; * but if she did then his mistress would have her 
in her hands to do her will of her ; and if she was so 
hard-hearted as to desire her end, she might then do 
her pleasure and make sacrifice of her. Peradventure 
that casualty might be better for me than to live in 
this matter, quoth she, God's will be done/ x 

Five days later Mary Stuart rode out of St. 
Germain with a great train of Scottish and French 
nobles. Her baggage and household had preceded 
her, and had gone to Havre, but her own place of 
embarkation was kept strictly secret, so secret, indeed, 
that Throckmorton half believed that the whole thing 
was a feint, and that she would not go at all, but 
would simply stay at Calais watching events. Slowly 
she rode through Northern France accompanied by her 
six Guise uncles, and whilst yet on the way she made 
another attempt to obtain a safe-conduct from the 
English queen, this time through the King of Navarre, 
who sent a special messenger to Elizabeth for the 
purpose. Mary again sent for Throckmorton when 
she was at Abbeville, and made a new appeal to him. 
She repeated her assurance that she only wished for 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. iv. p. 203. 


friendship. She had quite abandoned the use of 
the English arms, which her late husband had assumed. 
Her Guise uncles would no longer advise her, and she 
could not possibly ratify the treaty without the counsel 
of the Scottish nobles. This was obviously only for 
the purpose of delay, and Throckmorton finally took 
leave of the Queen on the 8th August, as she rode 
towards Calais, where her galleys awaited her, keenly 
spied by English agents, whilst yet another envoy 
from Mary hurried to make a last request to Elizabeth 
herself for a safe-conduct. 1 

The ties that bound her to France were weakened 
by every league that she passed upon her way. 
Already her thoughts and ambitions lay towards the 
mighty power of Spain and Flanders, whose morose 
master at this juncture of her life openly expressed his 
compassion and sympathy for her, and his indignation 
at Elizabeth's treatment of her in refusing her a safe- 
conduct. When at length she entered the town of 
Calais, with the victorious Guise who had snatched 
it from the English by her side, the French chapter of 
her life had ended. Thenceforward she might yearn 
for the comfort, the splendour, the security, that 
France had afforded her, she might even receive wordy 
sympathy and ostentatious tears in her troubles, but she 

1 It is evident that Elizabeth's refusal of the safe-conduct was given in 
the belief that Mary's voyage would be prevented or delayed thereby, and 
that pressure might thus be brought to bear for the immediate ratification 
of the Treaty of Edinburgh. When Cecil had become convinced that 
Mary really intended to sail in any case with or without the permission of the 
English, then the safe-conduct was granted, although it arrived at Calais 
after Mary had departed from France. The refusal of the safe-conduct 
by Elizabeth was resented by Catharine de Medici, as was natural, and both 
Throckmorton and Lethington doubted the wisdom of offending Mary 
and her many friends when once she had irrevocably made up her mind to 
undertake the voyage in any case. 


could command no more for her family or religious 
ends the resources of the French monarchy, because 
the sovereign who ruled it for years to come was a 
jealous woman who hated her ; with no strong religious 
convictions, no fixity of policy, no honour, and no 
conscience ; whilst on the English side of the channel 
Mary was also pitted against another woman similarly 
endowed ; and against two such antagonists her feminine 
weapons were impotent. 


The voyage to Scotland — Mary's grief and apprehension at leaving 
France — Her companions — Bothwell, Chastelard, Brantome — Policy 
of Lethington and James Stuart — Mary lands at Leith (August 
x 561) — Her reception — Knox and Mary — Religious discord in Mary's 
court — Difficulties of James and Lethington — The problems they had 
to face — Plans for Mary's marriage — Attempts to gain Elizabeth's 
recognition of Mary as her heir — Lethington's efforts to that end — 
The only alternative a match with Don Carlos — The Hamiltons' 
plot — Civil war in France — Elizabeth's action to counteract the 
Spanish marriage intrigue — Mary's light-heartedness in face of her 
troubles — The revolt of the Gordons and death of Huntly— Fresh 
attempts to reconcile Elizabeth to Mary's heirship — Lethington goes 
to London — Assassination of Guise — Lethington offers Mary to Don 
Carlos-— Negotiations with the Spanish ambassador and with the 
English Catholics — Elizabeth suggests Robert Dudley or his brother — 
Her real object in this. 

Mary remained sorrowfully in Calais for six days 
awaiting the safe-conduct that came not ; but at length 
(14th August), determined to face the risk of capture, 
she bade farewell to most of the brilliant train that 
had accompanied her so far, and embarked on one of 
the tWo beautiful galleys that rode in the harbour. 
Brantome's touching description of her heart-broken 
farewell to her friends and to her beloved France has 
been quoted until it has become threadbare, and the 
pathetic picture of the interesting Queen reclining on 
the stern railing of her vessel as the day faded, straining 
her streaming eyes to catch a last glimpse of the land 



she loved, is too well known to be quoted here. That 
she bitterly regretted the need which forced her to 
leave France is certain ; for was she not leaving 
security, comfort, elegance, and devotion, to face un- 
certainty, discomfort, uncouthness, and the distrust of 
a large section of her people ? There was no reason 
why she should be consumed with love for Scotland. 
The country was a distant memory to her personally, 
and since she could remember it had always been in 
seething revolt against her authority and her faith. 
Her beloved mother had been sacrificed to its turbu- 
lence, and she was full of sad foreboding that the task 
that had broken down Mary of Guise would claim as 
a victim her daughter as well. No wonder that the 
sight of a ship foundering with all hands before her 
eyes, as she glided out of Calais harbour, wrung from 
her the heartcry, * O God ! what an omen have we 

With her on the galleys were three of her uncles, 
the Duke d' Aumale, the Grand Prior of St. John, and 
the Marquis d'Elboeuf. The four maids of honour 
who had been her companions from infancy, the four 
Maries, were also near her, and a crowd of French and 
Scottish noble ladies and gentlemen, who were willing 
to brave the risks of such a voyage for her sake. 
Amongst them were two men, who perhaps at the time 
but little attracted her attention, but who nevertheless 
were in the dim future to sway her fate and die miser- 
ably for love or lust of her. One of them, broad of 
shoulders, stout of limb, was a young Scotsman of five- 
and-twenty, whose characteristic was strength rather 
than beauty. • Stubborn red hair, cropped close, covered 
his massive head, and a great warlike*, beak of a nose 


overshadowed a mouth of enormous width and a heavy 
jaw. 1 But yet James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, was 
no boor. He had been reared at the French court, 
and was fully conversant with all the graces of his 
time ; his hands and feet were fine and aristocratic, his 
bearing was gallant ; and though violent passion, over- 
bearing resistance, marred his elegance, the magnetic 
force of him dominated the love of many women. 
The other man was cast in different mould. A 
Frenchman Chastelard, a mere lad, a dangling courtier 
of the newer school that had become fashionable in the 
last two years in France ; bearing a sword by his 
side, but oftener toying with his lute ; sweet of voice, 
languishing and lovelorn in demeanour, a pretty fribble 
to look at as he sighed his verses, but, like the little 
Abbe of two centuries later, hiding beneath his soft 
gentleness more profligacy and vice than a dozen 
rough soldiers might. He was in the train of Mont- 
morenci's son and heir, D'Anville, who also accom- 
panied Mary to Scotland ; and Brantome gives a 
characteristic specimen of his poetic compliments, 
addressed to Mary even thus early. Seeing the ship's 
lantern being lighted on her galley, * ildit cegentil mot* : 
* Surely there be no need of that light to guide us over 
the sea. The sweet eyes of our Queen are bright 
enough to illumine all the ocean with their dazzling 
fires, nay, to set it in flames if needs be.' 

1 The only fairly well-authenticated contemporary portrait of Bothwell 
known to exist is that which by the kind permission of the owner is 
reproduced in the present volume. The many descriptions of him, how- 
ever, when collated one with another, and with the photograph of his skull 
in my possession, leave no doubt as to his appearance. Mr. Jusseraud's 
recent letter printed by Mr. Andrew Lang describing the present appearance 
of BothwelFs mummified corpse affords, moreover, valuable confirmation of 
the traditional representation of the man, as well as of the portrait referred to. 


As the groaning slaves, toiling at their oars, slowly 
urged Mary's galley through the mirky North Sea 
towards her own land, the party that had in her 
absence changed the national religion, monopolised 
the government of the state, and diminished the 
prerogative of the sovereign, were in a fever of 
apprehension as to the consequences of her advent. 
James Stuart and Lethington, foreseeing their danger, 
had for some time been striving to bring about an 
agreement between Elizabeth and Mary, by which 
they and the Protestant party might be assured of 
continued power, and Mary conciliated by being 
acknowledged heir to the throne of England failing 
Elizabeth and her descendants. 1 But such a solution 
as this, plausible as it looked, was one that the policy 
of Elizabeth could never admit, especially to serve 
other interests than her own ; and when the governors 
of Scotland convinced themselves at last that Elizabeth 
would play her own game only, and that the coming 
of their Queen was inevitable, they could but look 
to their English friends for protection against the 
destruction which threatened them. Knox himself 
whimpered to Elizabeth, deprecating the feared 
attempts of Mary to stir up the anger of the English 
queen against him on account of his attack on women 
governors. Lord James, Lethington, and Morton 
agreed with Cecil in wishing that she (Mary) might 
be stayed ; ' and were it not for obedience sake, some 
of them care not though they never saw her face. 
They try to prevent the wicked devices of her mis- 
chievous papist ministers. . . . They do what they 
can for the religion and amity with their neighbours — 

1 Scottish State Papers, Bain, vol. i. p. 540, etc 


and need look to themselves, for their hazard is great, 
as they see. There is no safety for them but in our 
Queen's (Elizabeth) favour, for friends abroad they 
have none, and few trustworthy at home. . . . They 
are feared with her (Mary's) refusal, and fear her 
thrusting Englishmen out of the country. . . . Leth- 
ington doth all he can to satisfy you of things here 
— he thinks it best she come not — but if she do, let 
her know she shall find obedience and service if she 
embrace Christ and desire peace with her neighbours. 
. . . Mr. Knox is determined to abide the uttermost, 
and others will not leave him till God have taken his 
life and theirs.' 1 

This was written whilst Mary was at Calais, and 
Lethington followed it by repeated letters of his own 
to Cecil, full of craven fears. The lukewarm Protes- 
tants, he said, would fall away if Mary came, and the 
' papists ' were already plucking up courage : it would 
be well for the English to place a strong force at 
Berwick ; * so long as we stand in doubtful terms ; it 
will discourage the enemy, and make us bolder.' ' I 
pray you advise me in this dangerous case, whereto 
my wit is not sufficient, as well in the common cause 
as in my particular, who am taken to be chief meddeler 
and principal negotiator of all the practiques with 
England. Though I be not in greatest place, yet is 
not my danger least, specially when she shall come 
home having received at her Majesty's (Elizabeth's) 
hands so great a discourtesy.' 2 

Mary's tiny fleet, shrouded in mist during part of 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 9th August 1561 (Scottish Calendar). 

* Lethington to Cecil, 9th and 15th August 1561 (Scottish Calendar). 
The discourtesy referred to was of course the refusal of a safe-conduct by 


the voyage, saw nothing of the English forces she had 
feared. It is more than doubtful, indeed, whether 
there was any serious intention of waylaying her at 
sea, though if she had entered an English port, as 
at one time seemed possible, she might have been 
detained ; and if the little English squadron sent out 
on pretence of arresting pirates had made a mistake 
and captured the Scottish galleys instead, there would 
have been no great grief thereat in the English court, 
although, doubtless, officially Elizabeth would have 
been much shocked. But we may be sure that she 
would have extorted Mary's signature to the Treaty 
of Edinburgh before she let her go, 1 however much 
she might have railed at the captors, for such was 
Elizabeth Tudor's way. On the morning of the 19th 
August 1 56 1, several days earlier than had been ex- 
pected, the galleys entered the port of Leith. Little 
preparation had been made, for people still doubted 
the Queen's coming. Mary herself saw her country 
with a sinking heart ; and when informed that during 
the fog she had been in great danger of being lost 
upon the rocks, she replied that, for her own sake, 
there was nothing she would have welcomed more 
than death ; though she would have been sorry for 
Scotland if she had died. 

With such mutual dread between the Queen and 
her government Mary Stuart set foot on her own 
land. There were no great personages at Leith ready 
to receive her except her bastard brother Robert 
Stuart, and she breakfasted at Captain Lamb's house 

1 As a matter of fact, one of the vessels of the convoy was captured by 
the English on pretence of suspected piracy, and Mary's norses were landed 
and detained for some weeks, on the pretext that there was no passport for 
them to go into Scotland. 


surrounded by those who had come from France with 
her. Soon, however, the people began to flock in 
from Edinburgh : first the Duke of Chatelherault ; 
and then, plucking up courage, there came doubtingly 
those who most feared her advent. It was an ominous 
beginning, and Mary was in low spirits. 1 For her 
ride into Edinburgh there attended her a single horse 
for herself, and for her train a lot of little rough 
hackneys shabbily caparisoned. The contrast with 
past splendour was too much for the overstrung 
nerves of the Queen, and she broke down at the 
sight of the sorry equipage ; bursting into tears, and 
sobbing out that this was very different from the 
rich and beautiful cavalcades she had disposed of in 
France and had enjoyed so long ; but since she must 
change her heaven into a hell, she must eke have 
patience. 2 

In this gloomy and resentful spirit, a combination of 
pride and self-pity, Mary first faced her people, as she 
rode from Leith to Holyrood. The elements of the 
tragedy were here all complete. A profoundly divided 
people — dour burgesses, and clansmen looking only to 
their chiefs — a jealous governing class, who had used 

1 Castelnau de la Mauvissiere, who accompanied Mary to Scotland, says 
that when she landed at Leith, * receiving no attendance from her subjects, 
she was one morning taken so extremely ill that, being carried to her palace 
at Edinburgh, she kept her bed for about twenty days. During her illness 
most of the nobility came to wait upon her, and, as they paid her all the 
honours that could be expected, her Majesty, on the other hand, endea- 
voured to make herself as agreeable as possible * (Memoirs, English trans- 
lation, London, 1724). There must be exaggeration here. Mary only 
remained in Leith a few hours for breakfast j and before she started for 
Edinburgh she received visits, amongst many others, from her brothers 
James and Robert, and from the Duke of Chatelherault and his son Arran. 
That she was indisposed and low is true, as we have seen in the text $ but 
she could not have taken to her bed, as Mauvissiere savs, for twenty days 
on her arrival, or Randolph would have mentioned the fact. 

8 Brantome, Dames Iuustrts. 


the weakness of their sovereigns to render themselves 
supreme, an administration kept in power by the 
money and intrigues of a foreign country for the 
purpose of crushing the religion of the sovereign and 
of a large section of the people ; and on the other 
hand a proud young Queen, loving pleasure and 
material comfort above all things; accustomed to 
splendour, luxury, and deference, such as her own 
country could not give her ; discontented with her 
fate, wounded at the limits placed by her subjects 
upon her authority ; and above all representing in her 
own person the extreme papal party in the Christian 
church, which was the sworn enemy of her nearest 
neighbour, and of the type of religion adopted by 
her government and the reformers amongst her own 
people. Only great sacrifices from one or the other 
side, with infinite patience and wisdom on both, could 
save the situation which began so inauspiciously ; and, 
clever as were the principal parties in the struggle, 
patience, tolerance, and self-sacrifice were precisely the 
qualities in which most of them were lacking. 

Mary did her best to dissemble her discontent. 
Her uncles were at her side whispering to her wise 
advice to smile upon all men, and bide her time. But 
it must have been a hard task for the proud beauty, for 
of provocation to anger there was plenty : the noisy 
welcome of the citizens to their Queen, the psalm- 
singing, the discordant music under her window, the 
blazing bonfires that made night hideous, disgusted 
the fine French courtiers, though Mary herself feigned 
to enjoy the harmony. 1 But though the townspeople 
were delighted with her at first sight, and, as Mau- 

1 See the divergent accounts given respectively by Brantome and Knox. 


vissiire says, l thought themselves extremely happy 
to have such a Queen, who was the most celebrated 
beauty of the age,' they had no love to spare for 
the outlandish papists who accompanied her ; and to 
avenge some fancied affront the mob pursued her 
French almoner to her very chamber the morning 
after her arrival, with intent to kill him. She managed 
in the first few days to persuade the Protestants, and 
even suspicious James Stuart, that they had nothing to 
fear from her ; but, wrote Randolph, a week after her 
landing, ' all men persist in the same mind that they 
were before they saw her — the Protestants stout in 
God's cause, and the papists nothing encouraged for 
anything they have found/ 1 Mass was first celebrated 
in her chapel on Sunday, five days after her arrival, 
and few but her own household attended it, whilst 
* Mr. Knox's sermon * was crammed to overflowing 
with nobles and burgesses. The next day a com- 
promise was effected with her Council, that the 
Queen might continue her religious services in her 
own house without interference. Lord James and 
Lethington were still her principal advisers, but under 
the surface the fires of discord glowed : Bothwell had 
openly quarrelled with Arran, and was fain to quit the 
court; Huntly and the other Catholic nobles came 
swaggering in with troops of tousled, armed clans- 
men at their heels ; Mary herself looked sourly upon 
Randolph the English agent, and asked a bystander 
what he was doing in Scotland ; and, above all, Knox, 
steeled against blandishments and graces, ' thundereth 
owte of the pulpet, so that I feare nothynge so mych 
as that one day he will marre all. He ruleth the 

1 Randolph to Throckmorton, 26th August {Scottish Calendar y vo\. i., Bain). 


roste, and of hym all men stonde in feare — woulde 
God he knew how mych.' 1 

Lethington started for England a few days after his 
Queen's arrival, the hope of Lord James and himself 
being that the bait of the English succession for Mary 
would make her tractable to their ends. Whilst this 
flattering hope lasted James was all amiability and 
conciliation to his sister, and the Queen herself, with 
a similar object, strove her utmost to reassure the 
English party. The first interview which Randolph 
had with her as Elizabeth's representative was for the 
purpose of protesting against the depredations of 
certain Scottish pirates, and Mary went out of her 
way to convince him of her earnest desire to live in 
friendship with her cousin of England. She had 
reason enough to look askance at Randolph, for she 
knew full well that he had been the crafty tool by 
which Elizabeth had worked so successfully upon 
Scotland. But even with him she was gracious ; and, 
as James told him afterwards, had simply remarked, 
when his back was turned, that she saw it was in- 
tended for Randolph to remain. 'Weill let him 
stay,' she said, c but I will have another one there (in 
England) as crafty as he/ 

So long as diplomatists and politicians alone had 
matters in hand all went smoothly. Elizabeth most 
graciously gave permission for two of Mary's uncles 
and young Montmorenci (d'Anville) to pass through 
England on their way home,. the belated passport for 
Mary herself came, and allayed some of the irritation 
caused by its first refusal, Mary and her uncle Elboeuf 
did their best to please the Protestants, and with con- 

1 Randolph to Throckmorton, 26th August {Scottish Calendar > Bain). 


siderable success j 1 whilst Lord James was equally 
careful not openly to offend the Catholics. But Knox 
and the bigots were as constant grit in the wheels and 
spoilt all. On the occasion of Mary's state entry into 
Edinburgh (4th September) the emblems that greeted 
her displayed a lamentable want of gracefulness and 
good feeling. Up to this time, at all events, there 
had not been the slightest indication on the part of 
Mary that she had any notion of coercing her subjects 
in the matter of religion ; yet the first allegorical 
greeting that met her was a child, who, released from 
a suspended globe on high, descended as an angel to 
hand her a Protestant bible and psalter, with the keys 
of the city ; and as she progressed through the streets, 
on all sides were pageants and inscriptions recalling to 
her 'the vengeance of God upon idolaters/ They 
had arranged as a climax the ' burning of a priest at 
the altar, at the elevation ' ; but this — either in sham 
or earnest — was too much for Huntly, and he put his 
foot down and stopped it. The Duke of Chatelherault 
and his son Arran had retired from court, and begun 
to fortify their castle of Dumbarton, as soon as the 
first mass was celebrated, and Knox surpassed himself 
in intemperate violence. ' I assure you,' wrote Ran- 

1 Randolph, with what appears to have been a great want of tact, gave 
to Mary Theodore Beza's Oration, which she read through j and after- 
wards he asked Lord James whether the Queen would accept from him a 
copy of the conclusions arrived at with regard to the Lord's Supper by the 
great Huguenot convention at Poissy. James undertook to present the 
book to her. 'She at first doubted the sincerity thereof.* 'She could not 
reason/ she said, 'but she knew what she ought to believe.* 'The 
Marquis (i.e. her uncle Elbceuft affirmed that he never thought Christ to 
be otherwise in the sacrament than as was there written j but yet doubted 
not but the Mass is good.* This was a bold declaration for a Guise 
to make, but it shows how far they were prepared to go now that the 
Spanish match had cooled, in the hope of consolidating Mary's position by 
obtaining recognition of her presumptive heirship to Englana. 


dolph to Cecil in reply to his recommendation to the 
Protestants to stand firmly, notwithstanding blandish- 
ments, * I assure you the voice of one man is able in 
one hour to put more life into us than 500 trumpets 
continually blustering in our ears.' 1 The 'one man,' 
Knox, had his famous interview with Mary two days 
after the state entry. We have seen what she was : a 
young woman, proud and tenacious of her prerogative, 
conscious that her place in the coming great struggle 
between freedom and authority in religion was in the 
forefront of the ranks of the strictest orthodoxy. 
Her uncles were the leaders of the cause in France, 
and it was the only party to which she could look 
with confidence for the recognition of her claim to the 
English throne. Temporising at the time, in the 
hope that an arrangement might yet be made with 
Elizabeth that would afford her a lever for future 
action, Mary desired, above all things, to conciliate 
the various interests that might be inimical to her, 
and summoned Knox to Holyrood to exercise her 
fascination upon him. Him also we know as em- 
bodying what has since become a recognised type of 
religious Scotsman. To him the only righteousness, 
the only salvation, was to be found within the narrow 
limits of his own view of his own creed. All else 
was anathema; and with beauty, and sweetness, and 
mercy, with kindly pity for the erring, with humble 
recognition of the frailty of human judgment, with 
tender trust in God's goodness even to the guilty, 
John Knox would hold no parley. 

Thus, arrogant as a swashbuckler, consciously 
righteous as an archangel might be, and inflexible 

1 Scottish Calendar, vol. i., Bain. 


as a judge upon the bench, he stood before the Queen. 
With eloquence and skill he justified himself as a good 
subject in the abstract, and though he had written 
against woman rule, c and had been chosen by God to 
disclose to the realm the vanity of the papistical 
religion, with the deceit, pride, and tyranny of the 
Roman anti-Christ/ if Mary would not persecute the 
true faith he would undertake not to attack her 
authority. But soon the discussion turned to purely 
religious points, and both disputants lost their temper. 
Knox inveighed against Rome and the Mass, and 
claimed for subjects freedom from all religious dictation 
from their princes, in defence of which principle sub- 
jects might, he said, legally rebel. c Let kings protect 
and foster the pure Church of God.' 'But you are 
not the Church that I will nourish/ replied the Queen. 
* I will defend the Church of Rome, which I think the 
true one ' ; and her last words were drowned in a 
flood of tears, in anger rather than sorrow, maliciously 
suggests Randolph. But Knox was now fairly in the 
saddle, and tears moved him as little as graces had 
done before. * Your w/7/, Madam, is not reason ; 
neither does your thought make the Roman harlot the 
true immaculate spouse of Jesus Christ. Wonder 
not, Madam, that I call Rome a harlot ; for that 
Church is polluted with all kinds of spiritual fornica- 
tion in doctrine and manners/ Lord James smoothed 
matters over as well as he might, and the colloquy 
ended more peacefully, Knox being accorded per- 
mission to address the Queen again on religion. But 
though Protestants affected to believe that their 
champion could win the Queen to his views, Knox 
himself from the first interview understood, as well as 



Mary did, the hopelessness of such a belief. 'The 
Queen neither is, nor shall be, of our opinion,' wrote 
he to Cecil ; 'and, in very deed, her whole proceedings 
do declare that the Cardinal's lessons are so deeply 
printed on her heart, that the substance and quality 
are like to perish together. ... In communication 
with her I find such craft as I have not found in such 
an age.' l 

Thus, between two incompatible inflexibilities, 
matters grew gradually embittered, despite of all the 
efforts of politicians of both parties. Many of the 
courtiers who had professed Protestantism were encour- 
aged by the Queen's firmness to smile upon the Mass 
again. Whilst Mary was on a progress and staying 
at Stirling 2 (14th September), the discord came to a 
head. High Mass was being celebrated with full 
pomp in the Castle chapel, when Lord James and the 
Earl of Argyle lost control of themselves, and in 
anger molested the singing men, whereupon a general 
fight ensued, in which more than one tonsured pate 
was broken. A few days afterwards, at Perth, the 
* pageants' were so offensive to the Queen that she 
fell ill in the street, and had to be lifted from her 
horse and carried fainting to her dwelling. Huntly 
and James had a violent quarrel, almost a fight, 
because the former said that if the Queen commanded 
it, he would set up the Mass in three shires; and 
gradually, in one part of the country and another, 
the Catholics plucked up boldness to celebrate their 
services without concealment. Lethington, hurrying 

1 Haynes, p. 374. 

* Mary was nearly burnt to death at Stirling at this time by her bed- 
curtains catching fire while she slept. 


home from England, with cold comfort of the 
arrangement he had hoped to effect, found things in 
this unsatisfactory state. On all sides people were 
murmuring against Lord James and him. 'The 
papists think they favour England, others that they 
are too affectionate to their own 1 (interests)/ Pro- 
testants thought them too ready to sacrifice religion 
for politics, and Knox alternately sneered at and 
denounced men who wished to 'swim between two 
streams/ These two men had to bear the brunt of 
extremists of all parties, and it behoved them to cast 
about for a remedy before they were swept off their 
feet and destroyed. Their, great plan for conciliating 
Mary by obtaining her recognition as heiress to the 
English crown was hanging fire, though no stone was 
left unturned, either by Mary or her two principal 
advisers, to persuade Elizabeth to agree thereto. 2 All 
that submission and soft words could effect was being 
done, though, notwithstanding the growing hatred of 
the people to the Mass, the violence of Knox, and the 
daily quarrels that raged around her, Mary herself 
never wavered in her own religious observance, or 
feigned any personal approach to Protestantism. 

The only card that remained unplayed in the hands 
of James and Lethington was Mary's second marriage. 
If that could be so arranged as to carry with it either 
the recognition of Mary's right to the English suc- 
cession, or the power finally to defy Elizabeth, all 
might still be well; otherwise it was evident that 
Scotland must become a mere vassal, to be used by 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 24th September 1561 {Scottish Calendar, Bain). 
* See letters from Lethington to Cecil, and from Mary to Elizabeth, in 
October 1561 and later (Scottish Calendar, Bain). 


the English queen solely for her own ends. It was 
high time, indeed, that Scotsmen should endeavour to 
coalesce on a national policy of their own, instead of 
allowing their family feuds and religious divisions to 
play into the hands of other nations. Although Mary 
had only been in Scotland for a few months, affairs 
had already drifted into a pitiably lawless condition. 
The Duke of Chatelherault and his son Arran were 
sulking away from court, refusing to give up the 
fortress of Dumbarton ; Bothwell, always near the 
Queen, and thus early assuming the position of her per- 
sonal champion ; Lord James and Lethington growing 
daily more unpopular and distrusted, even amongst 
the Protestants ; and Mary herself an object of bitter 
attack and denunciation. Brawls in the court were 
almost of daily occurrence, either between the crafts- 
men or the nobles ; and Mary on more than one 
occasion was threatened with forcible abduction, the 
mad and foolish Arran being the instigator, and — until 
later, as will be related — Bothwell, his sworn enemy, 
being the champion on the other side. 1 

The position was thus an extremely difficult one 
for the two men at the head of affairs, desirous as they 
were to steer a moderate course. Extremists on both 
sides distrusted them ; their endeavours, and those of 
Mary, to obtain from Elizabeth some consideration 
for Scottish interests, had hitherto been absolutely 
fruitless, and it behoved them, as Scotsmen first, who 
like other politicians of their time looked upon creed as 
the handmaid of statesmanship, to use the marriage of 

1 The Bailies of Edinburgh, in September, promulgated anew the old 
edict against the presence in the city of fornicators, drunkards, Mass- 
mongers and papists. This deeply incensed the Queen, who imprisoned 
the magistrates, and was herself virulently attacked in consequence. 


the Queen as an instrument to rescue Scotland from 
the position into which it had drifted. 

Of pretenders Mary naturally had many. The 
King of Sweden, persistently snubbed by Elizabeth, 
was actively pushing his suit to Mary by means of his 
agents in Scotland. 1 The Pope's special nuncio in 
France, Cardinal Ferrara, despatched in October the 
Savoyard agent Moret to England and Scodand with 
a feigned mission, his real object being to urge Mary 
again to marry either Guise's henchman Nemours 
(Jacques de Savoie) or the Duke of Ferrara. 2 But 
the Guises were now in the background ; and Anthony 
of Navarre, as soon as he heard of the mission, sent 
an emissary of his own, the Huguenot de Foix, a rela- 
tive of Jeanne d'Albret, to frustrate the Guisan plans. 
At the hint of Navarre Elizabeth delayed Moret in 
London until de Foix had got a fair start on the 
northern road, and, notwithstanding Moret's subse- 
quent speed, the Huguenot saw Mary at Holyrood a 
few hours before his rival. De Foix, doubtless, had 
something positive to say about a marriage, in addition 
to trying to put a spoke in the Guisan wheel, for it 
was noticed that Mary blushed more than once during 
her interview with him, and was very gay and happy. 8 
But she and her advisers had bigger game in view 
than either Moret or de Foix could offer her. After 
she had seen de Foix she sent for Randolph, and told 
him how glad she was to have heard of Elizabeth's 
good health. ' You must bid him (de Foix) welcome 
to Scodand,' she said ; and then the Marquis 

1 Foreign Calendar, 24th September 1561. 

2 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 21 9.1 
8 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 577. 


d'Elboeuf 1 went out of his way to profess his love and 
devotion to the English queen. When a Guise did 
this there was always some mischief afoot. 

Mary herself had. quite recovered her good spirits, 
and appears to have enjoyed much better health than 
in France, Though she preserved her decorum in her 
council-chamber, her youthful gaiety asserted itself as 
soon as she had shaken off the trammels of ceremonial, 
greatly to the scandal of the unco' guid, who con- 
sidered that the leaping and skipping that went on 
were not ' comely for honest women.* Music, min- 
strelsy, card - playing, outdoor sports, and indoor 
masques, all delighted her. Her own birthday, the 
marriage of her two brothers Robert and John, the 
latter of whom was a great dancer and a special 
favourite of hers, the reception of ambassadors and 
the like, were all excuses for merrymaking eagerly 
seized upon. The memorial Mass on the anniversary 
of poor young Francis's death hardly broke in upon 
the gay junketings, not a Scottish noble of them all 
deigning to appear, or put on mourning garb. 

The kindest of messages went backward and forward 
to Elizabeth, there was even a talk of a friendly 
meeting between them to banish all difficulties, and at 
the wedding of Lord James (Earl of Mar, soon to be 
Murray) Mary publicly drank to Elizabeth's health, 
and handed the golden cup as a token of amity to 
Randolph. 2 But behind all this gaiety and blandish- 
ment the matrimonial intrigue was busy, and both 
sections of Scottish nobles, the Catholics and the pro- 
fessed Protestants, were endeavouring to outbid each 
other, with the object, in either case, of forcing the 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 576. * Ibid. p. 603. 


hand of England. In the autumn the Catholics of 
Scotland and England secretly approached the Countess 
of Lennox — Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of 
Queen Margaret Tudor, Mary's grandmother. Len- 
nox had forfeited his estates in France and Scotland 
when he married Henry vni/s niece, and had since 
resided on estates granted to him in the north of 
England. The countess was fussy and ambitious, 
sympathising with the Catholic cause. Lennox was 
weak and vain, and their elder son Henry, Lord 
Darnley, now nearly sixteen, a spoilt and pampered 
boy, brought up by his mother in constant contempla- 
tion of his royal descent, was, failing Mary, the 
eventual heir of the crown of England ; and it was a 
clever move of the Catholics to intrigue for a marriage, 
which, independently of Elizabeth's will, might give 
to Mary under their auspices the almost assured suc- 
cession of England, by uniting the claims of the two 
next heirs. Whether Mary herself was a party to the 
negotiation at this juncture is not quite certain, 1 
though she unquestionably received her aunt's ap- 
proaches ; but Cecil's spies were everywhere, and 
before the matter had gone beyond the preliminary 
stages Lady Margaret and her husband were sum- 
moned to London and placed under keeping. The 
countess put a brave face on the matter at first, and 
admitted to Elizabeth that she had tried to marry her 
boy to Mary. Why not ? There was no harm in 
that. He was next heir to England after Mary, and 

1 ' For Lord Darnley, to be plain with your honour (writes Randolph to 
Cecil, 30th January 1561), I believe that she will never match herself again 
with any of his age, though no other impediment were/ ' AH the practices 
ever made here with this Queen that ever came to knowledge for the mar- 
riage with Lord Darnley, she likes not * (Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i.). 
' She is determined never to match with that race ' (Ibid.). 


the match was a fitting one. 1 Alas ! the poor lady 
did not know the English queen yet so well as she 
learned to do afterwards by bitter experience. She was 
humble enough to Elizabeth before she died. 

But Mary and her Protestant advisers had a greater 
marriage than any of these in their eyes, a project so 
bold and daring, if it could have been effected, as to 
have successfully checkmated Elizabeth for good. 
Lethington and James had done their best to gain the 
help of England. They had abased themselves before 
Cecil and his mistress, and had received nothing in 
return; a continuance in the moderate course was 
clearly becoming impossible in Scotland, and it was 
almost hopeless to expect any reciprocity from England 
that should keep Mary on her independent throne in 
peace, with these two men, Lord James and Lethington, 
as her ministers. They were Scotsmen, as patriotic as 
men usually were in their day ; their adhesion to 
England and the Protestant cause had been purely 
political and selfish, and they seem now to have con- 
cluded that a time had come for them to play the great 
game for the advantage of their own country and 
themselves, rather than serving as tools for others. 
They were clever men, especially Lethington, but they 
were not clever enough for their plan. There were 
opponents and friends more cunning still, and in any 
case it was late to hope to remedy by a reversal of 
policy the effects of twenty years of drifting. 

When Moret, the Savoyard envoy, saw Mary in 
November, he was soon made to understand — although 
he probably was already aware of it — that neither 
Nemours nor Ferrara would do for the Queen of 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 220. 


Scots. He was a Guisan, and must, of course, have 
known something of Cardinal Lorraine's bold plan of a 
year ago to marry her to Don Carlos ; so, after his first 
talk with the Queen, one of the Scottish councillors 
took him aside and asked him to forward a marriage of 
the Queen with the heir of Spain. Moret appears to 
have given a sympathetic answer, and was assured c that 
there was not a man, Catholic or heretic, in the king- 
dom, except the Earl of Arran, who did not ardently 
desire such a match ; and even the Queen herself was 
thinking of it and hoping for it/ * 

When Moret saw Mary again she did not dissemble 
with him as to her wishes. He asked her what the 
heretics would think of it. They would be only too 
glad of it, she told him ; * and even though on 
religious grounds they might be sorry, there were so 
many other things dependent upon it that, so long as 
she did not leave the country, they would not object, 
or at least until she had children that she could leave 
as her successors/ Moret found that 'Lord James 
and the principal people in the country are of the same 
opinion/ 2 Not a word of this was allowed at the time 
to reach even the vigilant Randolph ; and the Huguenot 
de Foix went back to France assured that he had been 
successful in checkmating the Catholic suggestions for 
Mary's marriage. 8 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 223. * Ibid. p. 222. 

3 Elizabeth seems to have got wind of the plan about the end of May, 
after Elboeuf had passed through London. The Spanish ambassador 
writes in cipher to his King (6th June) : ( She (Elizabeth) even went so far 
as to tell me that the Marquis d'Elboeuf and his servants had publicly 
stated that his niece would marry our Prince. This was at the time when 
we had bad news of the health of his Highness, and she used a great 
many impertinent expressions about it, which I refrain from repeating, but 
answered as they deserved.* Whoever else may have given Elizabeth a hint 
of the marriage suggestion, we may be quite sure she told an untruth when 
she said that it was Elboeuf. (See Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i.) 


Quite a scare* took place in London in March 
when the news came that the King of Sweden's envoy 
had formally offered his master's hand to Mary. 
Troops were made ready on the Border, English war- 
ships were put into commission, and for a few days 
affairs looked threatening. But just then Mary's 
uncle, the Marquis d'Elbceuf, passed through London 
on his way home, and laughed to scorn the idea of his 
niece marrying Eric. Elizabeth and Dudley made 
much of Elboeuf ; it was said in order to win him 
to a marriage between Mary and Arran ; the most 
unlikely match in the world now, as probably Eliza- 
beth knew. Arran doubtless still dreamt of the 
possibility of it, and his foolish plots to kidnap Mary 
may probably be explained by his fear that the great 
Catholic marriage was contemplated which would end 
his chances for good. The first of these attempts 
(January 1562) involved the plot to murder Bothwell, 
with whom Arran was always at feud ; and the 
apparently inexplicable complicity of Bothwell himself 
in the second plan (March 1562) may probably have 
been caused by his jealousy at the idea of Mary's 
marriage with Carlos. After years of bitter enmity 
Arran and Bothwell suddenly became inseparable ' at 
preachings, huntings, and elsewhere.' Mary grew 
suspicious, and had them closely watched. One day 
they rode together from Edinburgh to the Hamilton 
castle of Kinneal, and Bothwell opened the matter by 
saying that he knew Arran was the most hated man 
in Scotland, both by the Queen and by Lord James 
(Mar) and Lethington. 'If you will follow my 
advice,' he said, 'I bftve an easy way to remedy 
everything ; that is, to put the Queen into your hands, 


and to take away your chief enemies the Earl of Mar 
and the Laird of Lethington.* Arran assented at first, 
and his father the Duke of Chatelherault even more 
emphatically ; but Arran lost nerve, and the next day 
wrote a full confession to Mary. When his father 
learned of the delation his rage knew no bounds ; and 
Arran in fear of his life shut himself up in his chamber, 
and sent a secret message to Mar through Randolph, 
praying for aid. He then escaped from the window 
by twisting his sheets into a rope, and walking half 
clad through the night to the house of Kirkcaldy of 
Grange in Fifeshire, where the poor creature lost his 
wits altogether, and babbled of witches and devils and 
the like. His father Chatelherault had no course now 
but to give up Dumbarton and humbly protest his 
innocence and loyalty. Thenceforward not even a 
pretence could be maintained of Arran's fitness to 
marry the Queen, either by fair means or foul, and 
the house of Hamilton recedes into the background. 
But Bothwell was made of sterner stuff. He too 
hastened to throw himself at the feet of his sovereign, 
and plead for the pardon which he did not deserve. 
Mary was righteously indignant with him, for she had 
piled favours upon him ; and he was confined first at 
St. Andrews and then in Edinburgh Castle, whence he 
escaped during the turbulent times five months later, 
to run his baleful career. 

In the meanwhile Elizabeth had gained an inkling 
of the plan to marry Mary to a Spanish prince, and 
with her usual agility changed her tack at once. She 
had other good reasons for doing so at the time. 
Guise had shortly before let loose the dogs of war in 
France : the Protestants at Vassy had been massacred, 


and the Duke had entered Paris in triumph. Elizabeth 
was preparing to help Conde, but she dared not con- 
centrate the united Catholic interest against her coun- 
try ; and she at once began to be amiable to Mary 
Stuart. The differences between them could easily be 
settled, she said. The much-talked-of interview was 
arranged ; great preparations were made for the jour- 
ney of both sovereigns to the meeting-place in the 
North of England ; and Lethington and James were 
once more persuaded that the succession of Mary to 
the throne of England would be recognised, the 
tranquillity of Scotland secured, and their own power 
perpetuated by means of an alliance with Elizabeth. 

Lethington himself arrived in London early in June 
to settle the details of the interview. Elizabeth had 
an ally now in the matter. It was as important to 
Catharine de Medici as to her that Mary should not 
marry a powerful prince, and especially Don Carlos, in 
order that Spain and the Guises might not become too 
powerful ; and she accordingly sent an envoy of her 
own (De Croc) to England and Scotland at the same 
time as Lethington came, to work to the same end as 
Elizabeth. Lethington explained to Elizabeth that 
Arran was no use any longer as a decoy-duck, and 
must be dropped ; and suddenly the Darnley proposal 
was smiled upon both in England and in France. 
There was no real intention, on the part of Elizabeth 
at least, to allow it to take place; but it was an 
excellent means to delude Lethington and Mary into 
the idea that the coming settlement would include the 
recognition of the latter as the heiress of England. 
It puzzled all observers, and above all the Countess of 
Lennox, who could not follow such rapid transforma- 


tions. The Spanish ambassador, cunning as he was, 
thought that Elizabeth was in earnest, and would 
persuade young Darnley to be a Protestant and her 
humble servant, as husband of Mary. Dudley ex- 
pressed himself in favour of the match, the Countess 
of Lennox wrote secretly to Mary in a hopeful tone, 
and Lethington went back to Scotland rejoicing that 
the way seemed clear for reconciliation with England, 
on the lines that he had always advocated. 

Alas ! hardly had he reached home than the whole 
scene was changed. The Huguenots had shown un- 
expected strength and boldness. The massacre of 
Vassy had stirred them to action at last, and a great 
army had been raised to crush the Guises once for all. 
Conde, Dandelot, and Coligny were for the moment 
the masters of the situation. Orleans had defied the 
Catholics ; Normandy was in arms for freedom of 
religion ; and the Protestants throughout France were 
straining their eyes for the help that was to come to 
them from England. It was evident, then, that there 
was no present need for Elizabeth to conciliate Mary 
Stuart. The Guises were at grip with their foes in 
France, and could spare neither strength nor money to 
help their niece ; and Elizabeth hoped by her usual 
means to counteract Mary's coquetting with Spain, so 
long as the Catholics of France were powerless for harm. 
So in July 1562 Sir Henry Sidney was sent to Scotland 
with polite regrets from his mistress that she was 
reluctantly obliged to defer until next year her longed- 
for interview with her dear sister the Scottish queen. 

In the meanwhile Mary was getting on no better 
with her subjects, and this rebuff from Elizabeth was as 
heavy a blow to her as it undoubtedly was to Mar and 


Lethington. The Queen's gay, light-hearted mode of 
life offended the Protestants almost as much as her 
Mass ; whilst the Catholics were intensely irritated by 
the fruitless conciliation of England and the unchecked 
predominance still exercised by the Protestant party. 
Huntly, the most powerful noble of the north, had 
retired in a rage when the interview with Elizabeth 
had been negotiated. He had other reasons for anger 
as well. The rich earldom of Murray, of which he 
had held the revenues for some years, was promised to 
Lord James (Mar) ; his second son John Gordon, a 
handsome young gallant who had lingered round the 
Queen love-smitten, 1 had got into trouble by his 
violence in Edinburgh, and had but just fled from the 
Queen's prison in which he was confined. So when, 
the interview with Elizabeth being postponed, Mary 
decided to undertake her arduous progress through 
the wild north of her realm, it was with no amiable 
feelings towards the Gordons, whose territories she 
was to traverse. Going by way of Stirling and Perth, 
Mary was still further incensed by young Gordon's 
disobedience to her order that he should surrender 
himself under arrest ; and when she arrived at the 
Gordon town of Aberdeen, she issued a peremptory 
command that Huntly should not be accompanied by 
more than a hundred clansmen when he came to pay 
homage to her. The fat old chief, however, trooped 
into the grey city with fifteen hundred broadswords, 
and still the Queen's resentment grew. Refusing to 
lodge in Huntly's castle of Strathbogie, which she 

1 He had married shortly before the widow of the Laird of Findlater, 
of whose lands he had the reversion. When he fell in love with Mary and 
conceived the idea of marrying her, he shut up his wife and claimed the 
estate for himself. 


scornfully passed on her way, she came to Inverness 
(9th September), of which fortress the Gordons were 
the hereditary keepers, and she was denied admittance, 
except with the permission of Huntly's eldest son, 
Lord Gordon, who at the time was staying at Hamil- 
ton with his father-in-law Chatelherault, in hopes, 
doubtless, of adding the Hamilton faction to his own. 
This refusal stung Mary and Murray to the quick, 
and the cry of treason was raised. The Goprfon 
clansmen were gathering on all sides, and prompt 
boldness alone could save the Queen. Both Mary 
and Murray were prompt and brave, and prepared 
to attack the castle in force. To fight against the 
sovereign who demanded entrance into her own 
fortress was a serious matter, and Huntly wavered at 
home in his own house of Strathbogie, finally order- 
ing the Inverness garrison to surrender their charge 
to the Queen. Mary was nothing daunted. She 
promptly hanged the captain, and set his head upon 
the battlements as a warning ; other chiefs were cast 
into the dungeons, and the rest of the garrison were 
pardoned. Randolph writes to Cecil : ' In all these 
. garboyls I . . . never saw her merrier, never dis- 
mayed, nor never thought that stomach to be in her 
that I find. She repenteth nothing, but when the 
lords and others came in the morning from the watch, 
that she was not a man to know what life it was to lie 
all night in the fields, or to walk upon the causeway 
with a jack and knapschall (i.e. helmet), a Glasgow 
buckler, and a broadsword.' l 

Though Huntly continued to throw the blame upon 
his sons, the Gordons had gone too far to retreat, and 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 651. 


Lethington. The Queen's gay, light-hearted mode of 
life offended the Protestants almost as much as her 
Mass ; whilst the Catholics were intensely irritated by 
the fruitless conciliation of England and the unchecked 
predominance still exercised by the Protestant party. 
Huntly, the most powerful noble of the north, had 
retired in a rage when the interview with Elizabeth 
had been negotiated. He had other reasons for anger 
as well. The rich earldom of Murray, of which he 
had held the revenues for some years, was promised to 
Lord James (Mar) ; his second son John Gordon, a 
handsome young gallant who had lingered round the 
Queen love-smitten, 1 had got into trouble by his 
violence in Edinburgh, and had but just fled from the 
Queen's prison in which he was confined. So when, 
the interview with Elizabeth being postponed, Mary 
decided to undertake her arduous progress through 
the wild north of her realm, it was with no amiable 
feelings towards the Gordons, whose territories she 
was to traverse. Going by way of Stirling and Perth, 
Mary was still further incensed by young Gordon's 
disobedience to her order that he should surrender 
himself under arrest ; and when she arrived at the 
Gordon town of Aberdeen, she issued a peremptory 
command that Huntly should not be accompanied by 
more than a hundred clansmen when he came to pay 
homage to her. The fat old chief, however, trooped 
into the grey city with fifteen hundred broadswords, 
and still the Queen's resentment grew. Refusing to 
lodge in Huntly's castle of Strathbogie, which she 

1 He had married shortly before the widow of the Laird of Findlater, 
of whose lands he had the reversion. When he fell in love with Mary and 
conceived the idea of marrying her, he shut up his wife and claimed the 
estate for himself. 


scornfully passed on her way, she came to Inverness 
(9th September), of which fortress the Gordons were 
the hereditary keepers, and she was denied admittance, 
except with the permission of Huntly's eldest son, 
Lord Gordon, who at the time was staying at Hamil- 
ton with his father-in-law Chatelherault, in hopes, 
doubtless, of adding the Hamilton faction to his own. 

This refusal stung Mary and Murray to the quick, 
and the cry of treason was raised. The Goprfon 
clansmen were gathering on all sides, and prompt 
boldness alone could save the Queen. Both Mary 
and Murray were prompt and brave, and prepared 
to attack the castle in force. To fight against the 
sovereign who demanded entrance into her own 
fortress was a serious matter, and Huntly wavered at 
home in his own house of Strathbogie, finally order- 
ing the Inverness garrison to surrender their charge 
to the Queen. Mary was nothing daunted. She 
promptly hanged the captain, and set his head upon 
the battlements as a warning ; other chiefs were cast 
into the dungeons, and the rest of the garrison were 
pardoned. Randolph writes to Cecil : ' In all these 
garboyls I . • . never saw her merrier, never dis- 
mayed, nor never thought that stomach to be in her 
that I find. She repenteth nothing, but when the 
lords and others came in the morning from the watch, 
that she was not a man to know what life it was to lie 
all night in the fields, or to walk upon the causeway 
with a jack and knapschall (i.e. helmet), a Glasgow 
buckler, and a broadsword.' * 

Though Huntly continued to throw the blame upon 
his sons, the Gordons had gone too far to retreat, and 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 651. 


Lethington. The Queen's gay, light-hearted mode of 
life offended the Protestants almost as much as her 
Mass ; whilst the Catholics were intensely irritated by 
the fruitless conciliation of England and the unchecked 
predominance still exercised by the Protestant party. 
Huntly, the most powerful noble of the north, had 
retired in a rage when the interview with Elizabeth 
had been negotiated. He had other reasons for anger 
as well. The rich earldom of Murray, of which he 
had held the revenues for some years, was promised to 
Lord James (Mar) ; his second son John Gordon, a 
handsome young gallant who had lingered round the 
Queen love-smitten, 1 had got into trouble by his 
violence in Edinburgh, and had but just fled from the 
Queen's prison in which he was confined. So when, 
the interview with Elizabeth being postponed, Mary 
decided to undertake her arduous progress through 
the wild north of her realm, it was with no amiable 
feelings towards the Gordons, whose territories she 
was to traverse. Going by way of Stirling and Perth, 
Mary was still further incensed by young Gordon's 
disobedience to her order that he should surrender 
himself under arrest ; and when she arrived at the 
Gordon town of Aberdeen, she issued a peremptory 
command that Huntly should not be accompanied by 
more than a hundred clansmen when he came to pay 
homage to her. The fat old chief, however, trooped 
into the grey city with fifteen hundred broadswords, 
and still the Queen's resentment grew. Refusing to 
lodge in Huntly's castle of Strathbogie, which she 

1 He had married shortly before the widow of the Laird of Findlater, 
of whose lands he had the reversion. When he fell in love with Mary and 
conceived the idea of marrying her, he shut up his wife and claimed the 
estate for himself. 


scornfully passed on her way, she came to Inverness 
(9th September), of which fortress the Gordons were 
the hereditary keepers, and she was denied admittance, 
except with the permission of Huntly's eldest son, 
Lord Gordon, who at the time was staying at Hamil- 
ton with his father-in-law Chatelherault, in hopes, 
doubtless, of adding the Hamilton faction to his own. 

This refusal stung Mary and Murray to the quick, 
and the cry of treason was raised. The Goprfon 
clansmen were gathering on all sides, and prompt 
boldness alone could save the Queen. Both Mary 
and Murray were prompt and brave, and prepared 
to attack the castle in force. To fight against the 
sovereign who demanded entrance into her own 
fortress was a serious matter, and Huntly wavered at 
home in his own house of Strathbogie, finally order- 
ing the Inverness garrison to surrender their charge 
to the Queen. Mary was nothing daunted. She 
promptly hanged the captain, and set his head upon 
the battlements as a warning ; other chiefs were cast 
into the dungeons, and the rest of the garrison were 
pardoned. Randolph writes to Cecil : i In all these 
garboyls I . . . never saw her merrier, never dis- 
mayed, nor never thought that stomach to be in her 
that I find. She repenteth nothing, but when the 
lords and others came in the morning from the watch, 
that she was not a man to know what life it was to lie 
all night in the fields, or to walk upon the causeway 
with a jack and knapschall (i.e. helmet), a Glasgow 
buckler, and a broadsword.' * 

Though Huntly continued to throw the blame upon 
his sons, the Gordons had gone too far to retreat, and 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 651. 


they gathered a large force under John Gordon, some 
seven hundred clansmen or more, all told, determined 
to risk everything and capture the Queen by force as 
she passed across the Spey on her way south. 1 The 
news was brought to Murray ; and again Mary and he 
were equal to the occasion. The nobles from the 
south were summoned, and soon the Queen's force 
was greatly stronger than that of the rebels. In 
answer to the Queen's summon* Huntly could only 
protest with tears that he was loyal, and that the 
whole of the fault lay with his unruly sons. Mary 
laughed at the pretence, and at the claim that the 
family were being oppressed because they were 

When, however, Grange went to Strathbogie to 
arrest Huntly, and bring him to his sovereign, the 
earl was forced to show his hand. Escaping in his 
indoor garb by a back gate (9th October), he joined his 
sons in their rebellion and was publicly proclaimed a 
traitor. In vain his friends, and many of his rela- 
tives, prayed for mercy. His highland foes, Forbeses, 
Frasers, Grants, Munroes, and the rest of them, 
flocked to the Queen's standard ; and when the forces 
met at Corrichie Huntly's men wavered and half 
deserted ere a blow was struck. There was treachery, 
too, amongst the highlanders in Murray's force ; but 
his boldness and the firmness of his pikemen carried 
the day. One hundred and twenty Gordon clansmen 
fell, and a hundred were captured in their flight. 
Huntly and his two sons, the younger Adam, a boy 

1 There seems to be no doubt that the main plot was to murder Murray 
and perhaps Lethington during their stay in the Gordon country. 
Buchanan infers that the attempt to capture the Queen was an after- 
thought conceived on the frustration of the original design. 


of seventeen, were made prisoners, the earl himself 
dying of apoplexy as he sat on his captor's (Andrew 
Ridpath's) horse. John Gordon, whose vanity and 
ambition of the Queen's love had been the chief 
motive of his action, was beheaded, unskilfully, in her 
own sight, though she saw the execution with tears. 

How far Mary may have encouraged his hopes by 
her attitude to him, it is difficult to say — as it is in 
regard to the case of Chastelard, of which we shall 
speak in the next chapter — but there is no doubt, from 
the observations of Randolph, of Knox, of Buchanan 
and others, that her behaviour at this time and sub- 
sequently struck those who saw her as being somewhat 
free and light. It was probably nothing worse than 
the ordinary code of manners in the French court, some- 
what accentuated by Mary's natural sensuousness, and 
the absence of any restraining authority over her ; but 
in the rigid dourness that characterised the Scottish 
Protestantism of the time, it certainly gave rise to sus- 
picions, for which there is no apparent ground, with 
regard to her moral conduct at this period. 

In the meanwhile, though the result of the Huntly 
rising had cowed the Scottish Catholics, it was obvious 
to Murray and Lethington that matters could not be 
allowed to linger indefinitely without an arrangement 
that should ensure Mary's tranquillity, either in accord 
with or in defiance of Elizabeth. The latter was deter- 
mined to help Conde and the French Protestants to 
the utmost of her power, and in November 1562 
endeavoured to reassure Mary on the subject. Eliza- 
beth was suffering from smallpox when Randolph 
presented her letter to the Queen of Scots at Aber- 
deen ; and this fact may explain the amiability with 


which the latter heard of Elizabeth's determination to 
throw into the scale against the Guises the whole 
power of England. But it was clear to Lethington 
that, sooner or later, Scotland must be dragged into 
the French quarrel, unless the two queens could be 
conciliated ; and whilst Elizabeth was at war with the 
Catholics, it seemed to him and to Mary a good 
opportunity for making another attempt to secure the 
recognition of her right to the English succession. 
Catharine de Medici was determined to prevent such 
an agreement if possible, and at once began a diversion 
by suggesting a marriage between Mary and the child 
Charles ix. Her agent Villemort swore to Mary that 
the Council of England had agreed that, if Elizabeth 
had died in her recent illness, Mary should not suc- 
ceed ; and in a dozen ways Catharine tried to sow 
discord to Elizabeth's detriment. The object was 
quite plain to Mary as she let Randolph know. As 
usual she was willing that Catharine should be check- 
mated, whilst she did not wish the Guises and Elizabeth 
to be at open war, which would make a reconciliation 
between England and Scotland more difficult, besides 
boding danger to her kinsmen. Lethington, therefore, 
again went south in February with such a mission as it 
seemed would in one way or another solve the great 
question of national alliance and Mary's marriage once 
for all. The position at the moment was a very 
favourable one for Scottish interests ; since both 
parties in France were busy, Elizabeth was involved 
in the quarrel, arid either Catholics or Protestants 
might think it worth while to buy the Scottish alliance 
at a good price. The ostensible object of Lethington 
was to intercede between Elizabeth and the Guises, 


but the real aim was to renew now more forcibly than 
before the demand for a close understanding between 
the two queens, on condition that Mary should marry 
to Elizabeth's satisfaction, and be recognised as heiress 
presumptive to England. If the English were as hard 
to deal with as before, he was to hint that he was 
going to France to negotiate the marriage of his 
mistress with Charles ix. This was, of course, mere 
make-believe for the purpose of bringing Elizabeth to 
reason, his real instructions being, if he found he could 
make no impression upon the English queen, to push 
forward actively Mary's marriage with Don Carlos, 
through the Spanish ambassador in London. 

Lethington found Elizabeth and Cecil as bland and 
evasive as ever. The Duke of Guise had just been 
assassinated before Orleans, and Mary Stuart's main 
supporter abroad had thus suddenly disappeared. 
Lethington's negotiation with regard to Mary's 
intercession therefore fell through, and he was soon 
convinced that, with affairs as they were, his Queen 
had now nothing to hope for from Elizabeth. He 
had done his best for years to secure for Scotland 
tranquillity and independence, on Protestant lines with 
an English alliance, and he had failed ; for England 
would take everything and give nothing in return. 
He therefore took the step that he had contemplated 
a year before, determining to throw over England and 
Protestantism by marrying Mary to a nominee of 
the King of Spain, and defying Elizabeth to do her 

Lethington dared not be seen openly conferring 
with the cunning old bishop who represented Philip 
in London; but late at night, again and again, his 


barge was silently brought to the water-gate of old 
Durham House in the Strand, and there for hours the 
Scottish statesman, the stern unbending Protestant, 
conferred with the popish bishop, whose house was 
the trysting-place for all the enemies of the reformed 
faith. Lethington had, indeed, quite lost hope in 
Elizabeth and Cecil. His interviews with them, and 
their change of tone when the assassination of Guise 
was announced, had convinced him that both he and 
Murray had been played with ever since the death 
of Mary's husband ; and in his secret interviews with 
Bishop Quadra he guardedly showed his resentment 
at Elizabeth's treatment of him. The crafty old 
Spaniard was in Elizabeth's black books just then. 
His house had been raided for the apprehension of 
persons, other than those belonging to his household, 
who attended his Mass ; and he himself was being 
treated with marked offensiveness, as he usually was 
when the Catholic cause in France was in a bad way. 
But he carefully stored up the memory of every slight 
offered to him, and took his revenge how and when 
he might. 

To widen a breach between Elizabeth and the man 
who, above all others, had established the influence 
of England and Protestantism in Scotland, was an 
opportunity too good to be lost, and Lethington 
was courted and made much of in the frowning 
old mansion which lay between the Strand and the 
Thames. When the servitors had left the room, 
and the bishop and his Scottish guest were alone 
at table after dinner one day in the middle of March, 
a leading question from the Spaniard opened Lething- 
ton's lips, and he told the whole story of his and 


Murray's disappointment at the way in which Scot- 
land had been treated by the English queen and her 
minister. It is clear from his statement that Mary 
had been hoodwinked equally with her ministers. 
Cecil's verbal hints and half-promises with regard 
to the English succession and the meeting of the 
two queens were seen now to have been nothing 
but feints for the purpose of paralysing any negotia- 
tions between Mary and a foreign power, and to drive 
her into marriage, as Lethington said, either with 
'the Earl of Arran or a still meaner suitor/ 1 The 
Scottish queen had hoped against hope for some 
time that Elizabeth's embroilment with France might 
furnish, sooner or later, an opportunity for inter- 
vention, which should place Scotland in a position 
for making a good bargain on its own behalf. But 
the murder of Guise, and the temporary collapse of 
the Catholic militant party in France, had at last 
banished this hope, and also that of obtaining for 
Mary any alternative support from France itself. 
When Lethington told Elizabeth that he thought 
of going to France to negotiate there, she replied 
that he might go as soon as he liked, a widely 
different answer from that which she would have 
given if the Guises had been uppermost at the time ; 
and Lethington acknowledged that the negotiations 
with which he had been intrusted on behalf of his 
mistress were now 'ridiculous and contemptible/ 
When the Scottish minister, out of breath, paused 
in the long recital of his woes, the Spanish bishop 
suggested, by way of feeler, that Mary had better 
make the best of matters, and accept any husband 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 307. 


that Elizabeth might appoint for her, in exchange 
for the recognition of her right of succession to the 
English crown. Lethington rightly understood this 
to mean that a more frank declaration of his own 
views was desired, and at once replied that his Queen 
would never do that. In the first place, he said she 
would marry no Protestant, though he were the master 
of half the world ; and in the second, she would not 
take a husband of any sort at Elizabeth's bidding, 
even if by doing so she could at once gain recognition 
of her English claims. She knew full well, he said, 
that a husband chosen for her by Elizabeth would 
only be one of her subjects, whom she would rather die 
than accept ; and besides, after she had lowered herself 
and married thus beneath her, she would have the 
same difficulty as now in getting her English rights of 
succession acknowledged ; and she woul^be less able 
than ev^r, after a mean marriage, to urge them by 
force of arms. No, repeated Lethington, the idea of 
an agreement based upon the submission of Mary to 
Elizabeth must now be abandoned, and another policy 
altogether adopted. The Queen-Mother and the French 
artti-Guisans, moreover, were playing Elizabeth's game 
for their own ends^ and were approving of Arran or his 
father as a suitof for Mary. Mary was determined 
to have nothing to say to either of them ; * and, as for 
Arran, she hated him so much that when she heard 
that the Queen of France had given him some hope 
of the match, she complained bitterly that de Foix 
should have any dealings or secret understandings 
with her subjects/ 

The bishop did not jump too eagerly at Lething- 
ton's bait. What do you think of the Archduke 


Charles as a husband for your Queen? he asked. 1 
Lethington was aware that the Emperor had neither 
money nor power, even if his Protestant princes 
would have allowed him, to force Mary's claim to 
the English succession. 2 Such a match, he replied, 
would never suit his mistress, as the Archduke had 
nothing to recommend him but his relationship to 
King Philip ; ( and that alone is not sufficient for the 
aims that the Queen (Mary) and the Scots have in 
view'; . . . * if your Majesty (Philip) did not promise 
great support and effectual aid to the Archduke, he 
(Lethington) thought that there was no chance of 
such a match being acceptable/ 8 Then Lethington 
unmasked his batteries somewhat: the person that 
these English people were so mortally afraid of, as 
to give, themselves no rest, was Don Carlos, 'as 
they feel sure that your Majesty will play them 
a fine trick some day when they least expect it.' 
The old bishop chuckled at this. The English, 
he said, in fear of such an eventuality, had up to 

1 The Archduke Charles, Duke of Styria, was the third son of the 
Emperor Ferdinand, and was the Austro-Spanish candidate for Elizabeth's 
hand. For his long marriage negotiations with her, see Courtships of Queen 

1 At this very time Lethington had a young Franco-Scotsman, James 
Melville, in Austria, sent with Mary's knowledge from France to make 
inquiries about the Archduke's person and prospects. In Melville's inter* 
view with the Archduke Maximilian on the subject, the acting Emperor 
pretended to be in favour of the match ; but Melville ingeniously found out 
that jealousy would prevent him from helping hiV brother to a too powerful 
position. Lethington could not have known this at the time, though he 
was quite right in his general conclusion that Charles was useless as a 
suitor, unless he came with all the power of Spain at his back ; and Philip 
was far too selfish and wary to give that to one of his Austrian cousins 
whom circumstances had forced to conciliate the German Protestants. 
(See Melville's Memoirs.) However true Melville's intelligence as to the 
secret dislike of Maximilian to his brother's marriage with Mary may have 
been, his father Ferdinand had been most anxious for the match. ~(See 
Foreign Calendar i Elizabeth, vol. vi.) 

8 Quadra to Philip, 18th March 1 563 (Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i.). 


recently made all manner of attempts to conciliate 
Spain in the matter of religion ; but the fear seemed 
to have worn off now, as the Huguenots were para- 
mount and at the bidding of Elizabeth, and the Scots 
were of her religion also. Lethington knew that 
this was an invitation for him to define the position 
of his party in Scotland as regarded religion ; and he, 
a leader of the Protestant party and friend of Knox 
though he was, at once began to minimise the im- 
portance of the reformation in his country. Elizabeth, 
he said truly, cared no more for one religion than for 
another. * Our religion in Scotland/ he continued, * is 
very different from that of the English, who have 
only abolished the sacraments, but have retained all the 
old abuses.' It was simply nonsense to think that the 
question of religion was really at the bottom of the 
present state of affairs. The fact is, he continued, 
that both Elizabeth and Catharine de Medici are in 
great fear of the marriage of Don Carlos and Mary, 
and with good reason, because, l if your Majesty enter- 
tained it, not only would you give your son a wife 
of such excellent qualities as those possessed by his 
(Lethington's) Queen, who in prudence, chastity, and 
beauty was equalled by few in the world, but you 
would also give him a power almost approaching (uni- 
versal) monarchy by adding to the dominions already 
possessed by your Majesty two entire islands, this and 
Ireland ; the possession of which by your Majesty 
would give no trouble whatever, having regard to 
the attachment which the Catholics bear to this marriage 
and the union of these two crowns ... his mistress 
having no enemies here (in England) but Protestants.' 1 

1 Quadra to Philip, 18th March 1563 {Spanish Calendar, Ekxabetn, vol i.). 


It will be seen that Lethington was ready to go 
over, bag and baggage, to the other side, both in 
religion and politics, if the interests of Mary and 
Scotland could be served thereby ; but the wary old 
Churchman was anxious to learn whether he spoke for 
others as well as himself. He objected, therefore, 
that all Scotsmen were heretics, and hated the idea 
of subjection to Spain in consequence. Yes, replied 
Lethington, it was true that most of the Scottish 
nobles were Protestants, but they were so obedient to 
their Queen that they would rejoice at her marriage, 
even to a Catholic, if it was pleasing to her and 
advantageous to her realm. Besides, he continued, 
even in the matter of religion it would be easy for them 
to bring the country into peaceful submission. How, 
inquired the bishop ; but Lethington's reply when he 
was thus driven into a corner was not quite satis- 
factory. He was sure, he said, that the Protestants 
would allow the Catholics to celebrate Mass privately 
in their own homes without molestation. The Spaniard 
demurred at this. Why not publicly in churches ? he 
asked. Well, perhaps even that could be arranged, 
replied Lethington, though he was not quite sure. 
Still, both he and Murray had great influence with the 
preachers, and he thought they could manage it easily ; 
and here he slipped in a few words of fear as to the 
introduction of the Inquisition into Scotland. The 
talk about the cruelty of that institution was an absurd 
fable, the Spaniard assured him : only moral suasion 
was used to secure the uniformity of the faith ; but, 
whatever Catholic husband Mary might choose, Scot- 
land would have to put up with some such methods. 
This was as far as either party would go at the time 


in the conversation, and, with warm professions of 
personal sympathy with the proposed marriage on both 
sides, the four hours' conference ended, Lethington 
promising to write to Murray on the subject, and the 
bishop to obtain Philip's views^ 

It is clear that Lethington had not adopted this en- 
tire change of policy without the full consent of Mary, 
and probably, also, of Murray. The predominance of 
the Huguenots and ' politicians ' in France had tem- 
porarily brought Catharine to the side of Elizabeth in 
forwarding the idea of a Hamilton marriage for Mary ; 
and such a marriage, as we have seen, would have 
been distasteful to Mary, ruinous to Murray, and utterly 
destructive of the political influence of Scotland in any 
direction. The rallying of Murray ahd Lethington to 
the ultra-Catholic .side was, therefore, quite in the order 
of things, though it proved how little either of them 
cared for the abstract question of creed. The idea 
of a marriage between Mary and young Charles ix. 
was still kept alive as a diplomatic possibility ; but 
it was understood on all hands now to be nothing 
more than a feint to divert the Scottish queen from 
the dreaded Spanish marriage to which events seemed 

Lethington wasted no time after his interview in 
opening communications with the Catholic party in 
England, previously his bitter enemies. The dis- 
contented English nobles of the old stock, who hated 
Cecil and Leicester, were ready at any time to join a 
promising coalition with the object of overthrowing the 
Protestants ; and they, one and all, gave Lethington 
assurances of support in the Spanish marriage of his 
mistress, and in the fateful changes in England that 


such a marriage must necessarily bring. Only let her 
marry Don Carlos, said they, and they would salute 
her as the rising sun. Lethington was frequently in 
secret conference now with the Spanish bishop in 
Durham House, and Cecil's spies must have noted 
the fact ; for a week after the interview just related 
Elizabeth had her counteracting stratagem ready, and 
in astounding one it was, throwing the whole of her 
rivals into confusion. 

One day whilst Lethington was chatting with her, 
doing his best, as usual, to extract some declaration 
favourable to Mary's claim to the English succession, 
Elizabeth remarked that, Mf the Queen of Scots 
would take her advice and wished to marry safely and 
happily, she (Elizabeth) would give her a husband who 
would ensure it, and this was Lord Robert (Dudley), 
in whom nature had implanted so many graces that if 
she wished to marry she would prefer him to all the 
princes in the world.' Now for the last three years 
Dudley's relations with Elizabeth herself had given 
rise to endless scandal, and it was the general belief 
that they were married, or in any case ought to have 
been ; and this bold move of the Queen's, offering her 
own lover as a husband for Mary, took Lethington 
utterly by surprise* His wits were keen, but he could 
not follow instantly this sudden shifting of Elizabeth's 
policy, and it was some moments before he had the 
courtier's phrase upon his lips as an answer. It was 
a great proof, indeed, he said, of her love for his 
mistress, that she was willing to surrender to her a 
person so dearly prized by herself; but he thought 
that his Queen, even if she loved Dudley as dearly as 
Elizabeth did, would not marry him and so deprive 


the latter of all the joy and solace that his company 
afforded her. * Ah I * sighed Elizabeth sentimentally, 
* I wish to God the Earl of Warwick his brother had 
the grace and good looks of Lord Robert ; in which 
case we could each have one.' This was really too 
much for Lethington, who failed to divine what the 
Queen was driving at, and in his confusion could only 
bow. ' The Earl of Warwick is not ugly either/ she 
went on ; * he is not ungraceful, but his manner is 
rather rough, and less gentle than that of Lord 
Robert, though he was worthy of wedding any prin- 
cess.' The Scottish minister at least understood that 
the idea of such a match as this, if it were seriously 
meant, would be scouted by all classes of his country- 
men, and most of all by Mary herself ; and by way 
of diversion suggested, as if in joke, that Elizabeth 
should marry Lord Robert Dudley first, and have 
children by him, and when she died she could leave 
Mary as heiress both to her husband and her king- 
dom ; so that in any case Dudley's children would 
be kings of England. This sally, as was intended, 
put an end to the subject, but Lethington was so 
confounded by the new move on the part of the 
English queen that he was for rushing back to Scot- 
land at once to take counsel ; but as his mission to 
France had still to be effected, though now only for 
appearance-sake, he left on his journey thither at the 
earliest possible moment. 

Elizabeth must, of course, have been aware that 
Mary would never consent to such a match as that 
suggested with Leicester or Warwick, but it was her 
fixed policy, and doubtless a wise one in the circum- 
stances, to diminish the importance of the Scottish 


queen as an international factor, and, sure as she was 
now that the French ruling powers would not raise 
a finger to support Mary, it was a clever and a safe 
retort to the ambitious plans for a Spanish match for 
Elizabeth to embroil Scottish opinion, and ostenta- 
tiously to treat Mary as an inferior vassal sovereign, 
only worthy to accept such a subject husband as the 
English queen might deign to appoint for her. This 
suggestion of a marriage with one of the Dudleys 
was not an isolated fact. It was indeed only made 
plausible at the time by the success that had attended 
just previously another and more insidious move in 
the unscrupulous conspiracy of Elizabeth and Catharine 
de Medici to discredit the Scottish queen in the eyes 
of the world, and reduce her power to co-operate, by 
marriage or otherwise, with the Catholic party in 
England or on the Continent. This branch of the 
conspiracy must be related in the next chapter. 



The Chastelard folly— Probably incited by Catharine and the 
Huguenots — Mary's imprudent condescension — The Hepburn scandal 
— Mary's behaviour offends the Puritans — Philip's reply to the 
marriage proposals — His futile policy of caution — Mary's objection 
to the Archduke Charles — Her main object to obtain the English 
throne* by a powerful Catholic marriage — Philip's aim — Elizabeth 
forbids Mary to marry either Carlos or the Archduke — Lethington 
again confers with the Spanish ambassador — His changed tone caused 
by Elizabeth's clever diplomacy — Philip's answer reaches England — 
The Spanish verbal message to Mary — Death of the ambassador 
interrupts communications — Randolph proposes an English nobleman 
to Mary — Determination of Mary to persevere in the Spanish negotia- 
tions — Mary again receives Randolph — Her policy of delay — Fresh 
hopes of Don Carlos — He is to be sent to Flanders to marry her — 
Randolph urges Dudley's suit — Elizabeth's real object in this. 

It has already been recorded that amongst the train 
of French courtiers that had accompanied Mary to 
Scotland was a member of the household of Constable 
Montmorenci's son, a youth named Chastelard. Young 
Montmorenci himself, M. d'Anville, as he was called, 
was supposed to cherish an affection for the Queen ; 
but if such was the case it does not appear to have 
gone beyond the demonstration of a respectfully erotic 
admiration for a great lady, which was in accordance with 
the fashion of the times. With Chastelar d,it was different. 
He was a gentleman of Dauphine, a great-nephew on his 



mother's side of the Chevalier de Bayard, and, like 
him, of slender, graceful form and gentle mien, which 
belied his strength, boldness, and dexterity in sports 
and arms. He was one of the most fashionable of 
the court poets of the school of Ronsard, writing to 
highborn dames languishing love-sonnets, which to 
the taste of the present day would appear outrageously 
insulting, if not indecent, but which were regarded by 
their recipients as the inevitable homage to their con- 
spicuous charms. Mary, a poetess herself, and, as we 
have seen, frank and unrestrained in her demeanour 
towards men, probably took a fancy to the enamoured 
gentleman. Brantome, who was the friend of Chas- 
telard, says that c she was pleased to read his verses, 
and even answered them, often making him good 
cheer and entertaining him/ Even thus early, during 
her voyage to Scotland, Chastelard hinted to Mary, in 
an Italian sonnet, that his love for her was not platonic. 
Of what use, he asks, is it to possess widespreading 
domains, cities, crowns, and bowing people, to be 
admired, respected, feared, and gazed at, and yet sleep 
alone in glacial widowhood ? Mary loved admiration 
and her own pleasure. To have one more man in 
innocuous love with her, and above all one who could 
tell his love in such pretty verses, doubdess amused 
her. Chastelard could be treated as a lap-dog, and 
banished or beaten if he went too far in his worship ; 
and when he accompanied his master back to France 
with open lamentations at having to leave the object 
of his love, the Queen would naturally look upon his 
despair and misery as the poetic exaggeration of an 
ordinary sentiment permitted by the manners of the 


Chastelard was a Huguenot, but had been brought 
up by the Montmorencis, who led the moderate or 
'political* party, which sought to reconcile religious 
factions, and to govern France by a purely national 
policy. The outbreak of the first war of religion 
threw into the hands of the Montmorencis the task of 
reconciling the extremists, which they ultimately did 
for a time; but in the meanwhile the Huguenots, 
who were in technical revolt against royal authority 
at Orleans, had to be dealt with by force of arms. 
Chastelard, a Protestant, was loth to fight against his 
co-religionists, and could not join them to fight against 
his patrons the Montmorencis. He had continued in 
France to proclaim in verse and speech his hopeless 
love for the Queen he had left in Scotland, and few 
people in the court could have been ignorant of his 
outspoken passion. When therefore he begged Mont- 
morencis permission to return to Scotland for a time, 
to avoid his difficulty with regard to taking sides in 
the religious war, and d'Anville gave him letters of 
recommendation to Mary, he, in his half-crazy worship 
of a queen, would appear to be an ideal instrument in 
the hands of Mary's enemies to compromise her. The 
Montmorencis were consistently opposed to Mary's 
marriage in France, and the strengthening of Guisan 
influence everywhere, but they were not enemies to 
Mary personally. Their moderate policy favoured a 
reconciliation between Elizabeth and Mary, on terms 
which would secure to the latter a recognition of her 
English claims, whilst disabling her from interfering 
in the French struggle or helping the Guises. But 
the aims of Catharine de Medici and the Huguenots 
went beyond this. Catharine had a personal grudge 


to serve, as well as a vital political necessity, in pre- 
venting the marriage of Mary with a Spanish prince ; l 
whilst to the extreme Huguenot party, depending 
mainly as they did upon England, it would have been 
fatal for Mary to have established, by means of a 
Catholic marriage or otherwise, her right to the 
English succession, unless she was ready to go over 
entirely to the Protestant party and become the vassal 
of Elizabeth in all things, which was out of the 

As we have seen, the discussion of a match between 
Mary and the Archduke Charles had gone far before 
the winter of 1562, and the still more dangerous 
suggestion of a marriage with Don Carlos was in the 
air and known to be Mary's dearest desire. The 
vapouring poet's vanity might easily be worked upon 
by suggestions of Mary's familiarity with him to 
attempt an act which might discredit her; even if 
we do not admit that he went to Scotland knowingly 
with a treacherous political purpose. In any case, 
when he passed through London in October 1562, he 
boasted that he was going to Scotland l to see his lady 
love ' ; * and on his arrival in Scotland he was wel- 
comed more than graciously by the Queen. * He is 
well entertained and hath great conference with the 
Queen,' writes Randolph, 8 * riding upon the sorrel 
gelding that my Lord Robert (Stuart) gave her 
Grace.' Onlookers were puzzled as to what his 
errand might be, and it was noticed that when he 

1 One of Catharine's methods to this end was the industrious promotion 
by means of her daughter, the wife of Philip n., of the marriage of Don 
Carlos with her youngest daughter Margaret de Valois- then ten years old. 

8 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 314. 

9 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 669. 



handed to Mary d'Anville's letter * her countenance 
signified good liking of the contents/ The sighs and 
philandering of the poet promptly began again. He 
presented to the Queen in his first audience ' a book 
of his own makinge written in metre * ; and jealous 
watchers noted frowningly c the over-great familiarity 
that any such personage (as the Queen) showeth to so 
unworthy a creature and abject a varlet.' * Whether 
his head was turned by this familiarity, or he was 
simply carrying out his instructions, is not clear ; but 
in any case, on the night of the 12th February, whilst 
Mary was closeted till past midnight in her cabinet 
with Murray and Lethington, giving to the latter his 
final instructions for his mission to England, the 
Frenchman concealed himself under the Queen's bed, 
fully armed with sword and dagger. He was dis- 
covered by her ladies before she entered the chamber, 
and was expelled, the Queen being kept in ignorance 
of the fact until next morning. When she learned 
it she angrily ordered him out of her sight, though 
apparently she was not implacable, for the poet was 
allowed to follow the court when later in the day 
the Queen left Holyrood for St. Andrews. On the 
14th Mary slept at Burntisland, and when her two 
ladies had undressed her and she was prepared for her 
bed, Chastelard, who had concealed himself in a private 
closet, suddenly appeared and approached the Queen. 
What followed is variously related. Randolph, writ- 
ing the next day, says that i he setteth upon her with 
such force, and in such impudent sort, that the Queen 
herself was fayne to crie for helpe, and the matter so 
manifest that no colour could be found to hide the 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. i. p. 685. 


shame and dishonour. The Earl of Murray was sent 
for . . . whom the Queen incontinently commanded to 
put his dagger into him, which had been done if God 
had not put into his mind to reserve him to be justified 
according to law/ l The news flew abroad instantly. 
A swift messenger sped upon the road south, passing 
Lethington on the way without word to him, carry- 
ing the tidings to Elizabeth with hints to Mary's 
dishonour. 'The beginning of a lamentable story, 
whereof such infamy will arise as I fear, however well 
the wound be healed, the scar will for ever remain.' 
So wrote Randolph ; and in his case the wish was 
father to the thought; for he was prompt with his 
suggestion to open the wound to Mary's good name. 
* Your honour (Cecil) seeth what myschief ensueth of 
the over great familiarity . . . unto so unworthy a 
creature and abject a varlet as her Grace ever showed 
to him. . . . What colour soever can be laid upon it, 
that it was done for his master's sake ; yet I cannot 
but say it had been too much to have been used to 
his master's self by any princess alive.' * 

This is the testimony of the English agent, who was 
certainly not well affected towards the Queen ; and 
Knox, her self-righteous enemy, was even more out- 
spoken in his innuendoes against her. 8 That she was 
free in her intercourse with Chastelard and other men 
to an extent that would have appeared harmless at 
the French court, but which shocked the more rigid 
Scottish sense of dignity, may be accepted as a fact ; 

1 Scottish Calendar y Bain, vol. i. p. 884. * Ibid, 

8 He says that the Queen always chose Chastelard to dance with her, 
frequently leant upon his shoulder, and sometimes kissed him on the neck. 
He more than hints that Mary's conduct towards him was indecorous, 
' more lyke to the bordell than to the comelyness of honest women/ 


but if Mary had desired an immoral intrigue with the 
Frenchman we may be perfectly certain that she would 
have found a way without this open scandal to indulge 
in it ; and the very fact of her alarm and indignation 
being so great when, as he said to justify himself for 
his previous trespass, he approached her in her 
chamber, should be proof that whatever may have 
been Chastelard's motive in his mad proceedings, the 
Queen herself was not a party to his presence in her 
bedroom. He is spoken of as * a little Frenchman 
who was always joking with the ladies/ and when he 
was seized by Mary's guards he attempted to laugh 
the matter off ; but Murray at least was determined to 
give a lesson in caution to Mary herself, and refused 
to make light of it. ' The man that takes most sorrow 
is the Earl of Murray, lest worse be judged of it, and 
of the familiar usage of such a varlet than was meant 
by her/ 

A week afterwards at St. Andrews Chastelard was 
executed. The romantic stories of his last moments 
on the scaffold represent him as sighing still for love 
of * his cruel mistress ' ; but evidently something 
more compromising than lovelorn sighs and poetic 
rhapsodies was wrung from him before he left the 
world. l He died repentant/ says Randolph, * con- 
fessing privately more than he spoke openly/ What 
he confessed Randolph was not told, but we get a 
clue to it in a quarter more likely than any other to 
be rightly informed. Lethington had found to his 
distress the court already ringing with the news when 
he arrived in London, and Mary herself shortly after- 
wards wrote him a secret letter — as he told the Spanish 
ambassador — giving him the details. Chastelard, he 


said, had confessed ' that he had been sent from France 
by persons of distinguished position, with sufficient 
means and apparel, in order that he should get a 
footing in the court and household of the Queen of 
Scotland, and try to make himself so familiar with her 
and her ladies that he could seize the opportunity of 
obtaining some appearance of proof sufficient to sully 
the honour of the Queen. . . . The persons who sent 
him on this treacherous errand were, according to 
Lethington, several, but she who gave him the principal . 
instructions was Madame Curosol. The Queen writes 
to Lethington that the other names are such that they 
cannot be entrusted to letters ; but I know not whom 
he suspects.* x 

Now it is true that this may have been an attempt 
on the part of Lethington to reassure the Spanish 
ambassador with regard to any suspicion of the moral 
conduct of Mary, whom he was so anxious to marry 
to Don Carlos ; but Randolph's remark quoted above 
gives support to the idea that Chastelard must have 
made some important avowals before his death, the 
general drift of which could with advantage be com- 
municated to the Spaniard but not to the Englishman. 
If such were the case, it could only be something 
damaging to the Protestant party in France, with 
which England was in league, and of which Chastelard 
was an adherent ; and it is difficult to avoid the con- 
clusion that the hapless, love-cracked poet had been 
egged on to his action, in the hope of compromising 
Mary, by the Queen-Mother and her Huguenot allies 
of the moment. It is incredible that Chastelard can 
have believed that he could force Mary in the presence 

1 Spam j h Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. 


or close neighbourhood of her ladies ; but the Queen's 
enemies in France, for political and personal ends, may 
well have persuaded him that she was really in love 
with him, and that boldness on his part would meet 
with its reward. If once he was made to believe that, 
Mary might easily be compromised, though what 
became of the unhappy instrument himself was doubt- 
less a secondary consideration to the intriguers. Pro- 
bably neither they nor Chastelard ever imagined that 
the latter would be executed for the liberty he took ; 
and it is indeed evident that Murray deliberately made 
out the offence to be as heinous as possible, first as a 
warning to Mary against her lightness of demeanour, 
and secondly, to convince the father of the great 
bridegroom they were angling for of the rigidity of her 
virtue. An example was needed, moreover, for this 
was not the first case in which Mary had been treated 
in a way that might give rise to the suspicion that she 
herself had encouraged indecorousness towards her 
person. When, in the previous autumn (1562), she 
was chatting in the garden with Elizabeth's special 
envoy, Sir Henry Sidney, a certain Captain Hepburn 
had approached and handed her a paper. Fortunately, 
being busy, she did not open it in Sidney's presence, 
but afterwards handed it to Murray (then the Earl of 
Mar) unopened. To his intense indignation he found 
the contents to be a grossly indecent set of verses 
addressed to the Queen, with a still more outrageous 
drawing at the foot of the missive. Hepburn fled to 
England when he heard the hue and cry ; and Mary 
fell ill with grief and shame, especially as it might 
'give occasion to Sir Harry Sidney and the other 
gentlemen with him to muse much at his (Hepburn's) 


boldness, or judge of herself otherwise than occasion 
is given by her and hers/ The same fear that people 
might misjudge her again assailed her and made her ill 
after Chastelard's insult ; and thenceforward for a time 
her old schoolfellow and cousin Mary Fleming slept 
with her. 

There must have been something in the Queen's 
expression or manner thus to inspire men with sexual 
passion rather than high-minded devotion or fear of 
her. Elizabeth, whose moral conduct, according to all 
known evidence and presumption, was much more 
reprehensible than that of Mary, never allowed her 
slaves to assume the slightest liberty or overt 
familiarity on the strength of her passing fancy for 
them. They could but sigh and flatter and fawn when 
she smiled upon them, or pine and weep when she 
frowned ; and Essex, the proudest of them all, found 
to his undoing that Elizabeth would be master and 
mistress too, however fervently she might love. But 
Mary's qualities were widely different from those of 
her cousin. She was as tenacious of her sovereign 
privileges as was Elizabeth, and could be as haughty 
as she ; but when she unbent in her exuberant love 
of life and avidity for pleasure, she drew men to 
her by sweet feminine wiles, and the unconscious but 
powerful fascination of an ardent nature. Unlike 
Elizabeth she did not hector her lovers into a condition 
of maudlin ecstasy, but inspired them willingly or 
unwillingly with a passion so strong that it overcame 
fear and made them bold. She it was, not they, who 
had to weep ; and for her every hour of light-hearted 
abandonment a bitter retribution of suffering was 
wrung ; for the people who surrounded her could not 


understand how a woman could be light-hearted and 
yet not a strumpet : gaiety and vice were in their eyes 
necessary concomitants ; the hard, sour, and ugly 
alone were good, especially for others. 

Mary had dire need of her elasticity of spirits at 
this time, for blow upon blow fell upon her. The 
tragic death of her two uncles drew from her * manie 
a sake teare'; whilst Randolph and Murray ' laughed 
at our wills * at the evil tidings. None dared at first 
break through poor Mary's pastime of * riding up and 
down hawking and hunting ' to tell her of her younger 
uncle's sad fate, until Mary Beton, * hardiest and 
wisest of them,' gently broke the news. The Queen 
was disconsolate with grief at the ruin that had fallen 
upon her kinsmen's cause ; but the courtiers slunk 
away in corners to hide their joy in pretended tears ; 
and, as Randolph reports, * I never saw merrier hearts 
with heavier looks since I was born/ Whatever the 
Queen did was wrong in the sight of those near her. 
After dwelling upon her intense grief at the murder of 
her uncle, Randolph in the next paragraph of his letter 
sneers at her because he and Murray managed with 
long trying * to wrynge a laughter or two out of her : 
and so far as I can see this sorrow will break no man's 
heart here.' 

Early in June Mary received the English agent, who 
had to present a special letter to her from Elizabeth. 
The Queen was in bed, as he said, * rather for ease 
than for any grief of her body,' and he remained 
chatting with her in the presence of Murray only for 
over an hour, whilst she expressed delight at Eliza- 
beth's friendly messages. Randolph gibes ill-naturedly 
at the Queen's thus receiving him, and at the same 


time the Scottish courtiers were * bursting with envy ' 
that * the Englishman must be brought to the Queen's 
bedside, she being in bed ! ' Anything was good 
enough to be used as an instrument to bring odium 
upon the unfortunate young woman. Randolph re- 
lates with eager glee (13th June) that when the Scottish 
parliament enacted that adultery should be punished 
with death : * That self-same night . . . the Queen's 
French priest, her ordinary chaplain, was taken with 
another man's wife in his bed.' 

Mary, indeed, was on uncongenial soil. 1 'Mr. 
Knox,' writes Randolph, * is so hard unto us that we 
have laid aside much of our dancing.' The Queen's 
Mass priest was cuffed by some of Murray's men one 
dark night at Dunbar; and on Christmas day (1562) 
none of her musicians would sing, either at Mass or 
Evensong. 'Thus is her poor soul so troubled for 
the defence of her silly Mass, that she knoweth not 
where to turn her for the defence of it.' 2 'Mr. 
Knox hath no hope (to use his own terms) that she 
(Mary) will ever come to God, or do good in the 
commonwealth. He is so full of mistrust in all her 
doings, words, and sayings, as though he were either 
of God's privy council that knew how He had deter- 
mined from the beginning, or that he knew the secrets 
of her heart so well that neither she did, or could, 
have for ever one good thought of God or his true 
religion. . . . On Sunday last he (Knox) inveighed 

1 Writing at this period (30th January 1563) to the Cardinal Lorraine, 
Mary asks him to tell the Pope of her 'wretchedness in this miserable 
country, and her determination if possible to remedy the evils in it, if 
necessary at the cost of her own life, which she would deem herself happy 
to sacrifice rather than change her faith, or approve of any of their heresies ' 
(Labanoff, vol. i. p. 176). 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 30th December 156a {Scottish Calendar, Bain). 


sorely against the Queen's dancing, and little exercise 
of herself in virtue or godliness. The report being 
brought to her ears yesterday, she sent for him and 
talked long with him. Little liking there was between 
them of one or the other, yet did they so depart 
as no offence or slander did rise therefrom. 9 * 

If Mary had been an angel instead of a fallible 
young woman, overflowing with ambition, pride, and 
a desire to enjoy life, it would have been difficult for 
her to have conquered by diplomacy and conciliation 
the forces thus arrayed against her. Determined to 
obtain, by fair means or foul, the recognition of her 
English claims, and to reassert, in Scotland at least, 
the supremacy of the Catholic faith, 2 rapidly gaining 
the conviction that Elizabeth was tricking her, not- 
withstanding her loving letters, and knowing well that 
Catharine de Medici would spare no effort to prevent 
any Guise from becoming dangerously strong by a 
foreign alliance, it is no wonder that Mary of Scotland 
should at last have been able to win Lethington, 8 and 
for a time probably even Murray, to abet her in an 
attempt to confound all her enemies by a swift and 
secret marriage with the Spanish prince. 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 30th December 1 562 (Scottish Calendar, Bain). 

> See her fervent letter to this effect, addressed at this period (31st 
January 1563) to Pope Pius iv. (Labanoff, vol. i. p. 177). 

8 Randolph, in his letters to Cecil at this period, promptly sounds the 
alarm about the signs discernible in Scotland or Lethington' s sudden sym- 
pathy with the Catholics. * I know not why, but many conceive strangely 
of him : I would to God he had been plainer with my Lord Murray ; but 
while absent he never wrote a thing to him seeming to give him credit. 
The Queen and he so determined before his departure." He had lately 
sent the Earl of Eglinton, * the veriest rebellious papist in the country,' 
with Mary's commission of justice to punish offences in the country, and 

" "ntroduc " ~ * " " 

English party in Scotland were therefore already looking upon Lethington 
as a backslider, though it is difficult to believe tnat Murray was not secretly 
a party to his change of front (Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 11, etc.). 


But promptness and boldness, which were the 
essence of the plan, were impossible where Philip n. 
was the deciding factor. Stolid deliberation, an in- 
grained determination to bind all his associates with 
triple bonds, whilst remaining himself uncompromised ; 
the interminable consultations and inquiries, the exac- 
tion of precise assurances and guarantees from others 
in exchange for vague generalities from himself; all 
the cumbrous machinery necessary to his character and 
methods, made negotiations with him comparatively 
easy of frustration by the nimble opponents, whose 
feminine wit and easy consciences enabled them to use 
more flexible means than his. It took three months 
for Philip to answer Lethington's unexpected advances, 
and the answer, when it came to London at the end of 
June (1563), was such as Philip loved to indite. His 
greatest praise was for the prudence with which his 
ambassador had avoided committing himself in con- 
versation with the Scottish minister ; ' and seeing that 
the bringing about of this marriage may perhaps be 
the beginning of a reformation of religion in England, 
I have decided to entertain the negotiation. You will 
see that it is carried on in the same way that it has 
been commenced, if you consider that way safe and 
secret ; telling them to inform you of all the engage- 
ments and understandings they have in England (i.e. 
with the Catholics) ; and you, knowing how valuable 
such information may be to me, will carefully advise 
me of everything, together with your own opinion 
upon it. Inform me, step by step, of everything that 
happens, but without settling anything, except to find 
out the particulars above referred to. You may assure 
them (i.e. Mary and her ministers) of my intention, 


but you must urge them, above all, to use the utmost 
secrecy in all the negotiations, as the benefit to be 
derived from the affair depends absolutely upon 
nothing being heard of it until it is an accomplished 
fact. If it becomes known that such negotiations are 
afoot, and that I am concerned in them, the French 
will be greatly alarmed, and will strive their utmost to 
frustrate them ... or to counteract any profitable 
result that may arise. As for the Queen of England 
and her heretics . . . you may easily guess what they 
would do if they heard of it . • ., so it is absolutely 
necessary that you should keep it secret, and urge 
secrecy upon those with whom you deal, and upon their 
mistress ' l (i.e. Mary Stuart). 

For a long time Cardinal Lorraine had been in close 
treaty with the Emperor to marry Mary to the Arch- 
duke Charles, and the matter was now looked upon 
by Ferdinand as practically settled. Lethington had 
fairly stated his mistress's mind when he said that she 
was strongly opposed to this match, as certainly all 
classes of Scotsmen were. She herself, in a subsequent 
document, 2 attributes the failure of the match with 
Don Carlos to the arrangement made without her 
consent by Cardinal Lorraine with the Emperor. 
* Besides her displeasure at the consequent frustration 
of the other marriage, she found no use at all to her 
realm in the match with the Archduke; he being a 
foreigner, poor and far away, the youngest of his 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 332. The Duke of Alba also 
writes to the Spanish ambassador (16th June) urgently pressing the point 
of secrecy: 'The whole affair depends upon its being kept absolutely 
secret until it is settled/ 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. p, 296. An apology written by Mary for her marriage 
with Darnley. 


brothers, and unpopular with her subjects, 1 and without 
any appearance of means or strength to help her in her 
claims to the English succession.' 

This latter consideration was ever uppermost in the 
minds of Mary and her Catholic friends, whilst the 
Scottish Protestants dreaded a weak Catholic consort 
as much as a strong one. The Archduke Charles, 
therefore, although unable to serye Mary's objects, 
would have aroused the opposition of England and 
France almost as strongly as a Spanish marriage would 
have done. That the Guises should have preferred 
the Austrian prince is quite comprehensible, and shows 
that in all their action they thought of their own 
interests before those of Mary. What they needed at 
this time was a Catholic Scotland, whose forces should 
be at the bidding of their party in France. A Spanish 
domination of England and Scotland would have 
crushed them in common with other Frenchmen, and 
strenuous Catholics though they were, they did not 
relish the idea of a Spanish master. That sacrifice to 
their ambition came many years later. Philip, when 
he wrote the characteristic letter above quoted, was 
well aware of the arrangement with the Emperor ; and 
he told his ambassador in the same letter, that if he 
thought equal advantage could be gained by a marriage 
of Mary with the Archduke Charles as with Don 
Carlos, he would favour the former, * out of affection 
for his kinsmen.' But still he was quite ready to play 

1 Lethington told the Spanish ambassador in London, when explaining 
the arrest of Hamilton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, for celebrating Mass, 
that the talk of Cardinal Lorraine's negotiations for the Queen's marriage 
with the Archduke had alarmed the Protestants, who had thereupon forced 
Mary to take action against the Catholics. 'The match with the Arch- 
duke/ continues the ambassador, 'grows every day more unpopular* 
{Spanish Calendar y Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 337). # 


the underhand game and deceive them whilst any 
probability existed of Mary's marriage with young 
Charles ix. This attitude of Philip is a testimony to 
the cleverness of Lethington's and Mary's diplomacy 
in keeping up the appearance of negotiations with 
Catharine for the French match, though it must have 
been evident to them that after Guise's death and the 
ruin of his cause such a match was impossible. How 
fearful Philip was of the French marriage is seen in 
this sentence of his letter : * I well bear in mind the 
trouble and anxiety I underwent from King Francis 
when he was married to this Queen (Mary), and I am 
sure if he had lived we could not have avoided war 
ere this, by reason of my protection of the Queen of 
England, whose country he would have invaded, as he 
intended to do. To go to war for other people is not 
at all to my liking . . . and in this case, seeing whom I 
should be helping, it would be doubly disagreeable.' 

Here we see the divergent aims of the various 
parties. Mary, despairing of obtaining by peaceful 
diplomacy Elizabeth's recognition of her heirship to 
the English crown, or of being able without a strong 
force to secure for her faith supremacy, or even toler- 
ation in Scotland, was determined, if possible, to turn 
the tables upon Elizabeth, the Protestants, and the 
predominant parties in France by bringing the power 
of Spain into Great Britain, and changing the secular 
policy of Scotland, which had always opposed Spain 
the friend of England, and had clung to France the 
enemy of both. The Guises, temporarily crushed by 
the death of their chief and his brother, yet with a 
strong party still in France, knew that a Spanish 
domination of England and Scotland, though it would 


secure Catholic supremacy, would have humbled France 
and have rendered it impossible for them to use Mary 
as an instrument for their family or party aggrandise- 
ment. They therefore aimed at a match that should 
make Scotland Catholic and nothing more. 1 Philip 
was rubbing his hands with glee that Mary had ceased 
to be French, and that with good fortune he might 
see Scotland, the back door to England, open to him, 
and the English Catholic nobles ready to join Mary 
Stuart under Spanish tutelage to depose Elizabeth. 
But it is unlikely that he intended to marry Carlos to 
Mary unless he obtained such pledges from the English 
and Scottish Catholics as convinced him that they were 
strong enough to elevate Mary to the joint crowns ; 
and, as usual with Philip, this was the real point upon 
which the project of Mary's Spanish marriage was 
wrecked. Elizabeth and Catharine de Medici, for 
different reasons, were resolved that Mary on no 
account should marry any prince (and particularly a 
member of the house of Austria-Burgundy) who could 
aid her to make Scotland Catholic, or bring her into 
effective union with the Catholics of England or 
France. The aim of both queens was therefore to 
draw Mary into a marriage which should reduce her 

1 It will be recollected that in the first days of Mary's widowhood 
Cardinal Lorraine himself had endeavoured to negotiate a Spanish mar- 
riage for her. The circumstances, however, had now changed notably. 
Philip's attitude during the progress of the religious war which raged in 
France had convinced Lorraine that the Spanish king did not intend to 
intervene in favour of the Catholics, or to be drawn into serving any 
interests other than his own. So long as the Cardinal and his brother 
thought that the marriage of their niece with Don Carlos would enable 
them to use the power of Spain for their own benefit in France, they were 
eager for the match. But Guise was now dead, the 'politicians ' para- 
mount, and the lesson of the past two years had taught Lorraine that the 
marriage of Mary with Carlos would have meant a Spanish domination of 
Britain, not a Guisan domination of France. 


international importance, and lower her personal pres- 
tige with the Catholic party throughout Europe. In 
addition to this Elizabeth was also on the alert to 
prevent the possibility of Mary's marriage with a 
French prince, and hence her own desperate diplomatic 
flirtations with the juvenile sons of Catharine de 

When Lethington took leave of Elizabeth on his 
return to Scotland (20th June 1563), she told him that 
she knew very well that negotiations were in progress 
to marry his mistress either to Don Carlos or the 
Archduke Charles ; and she would tell her quite plainly 
that if she married either of them, or any member of 
their family, she would be her enemy ; but that if she 
married to her (Elizabeth's) satisfaction, she would 
treat her as a good sister, and make her heir to Eng- 
land. When Lethington recounted this conversation 
to the Spanish bishop the latter asked him whom 
Elizabeth wished his mistress to marry. Lethington s 
reply shows that he had already grown doubtful about 
Don Carlos. At this time Philip's reply to his pro- 
posal had not arrived, and Elizabeth's promise to 
make Mary her heir if she satisfied her in her marriage 
probably still weighed heavily with Lethington. At 
all events, he spoke to the Spaniard in a very different 
tone from that which he had used three months pre- 
viously. Very likely, he replied, Elizabeth wished his 
Queen to marry a private gentleman or some Protes- 
tant prince. * Will your mistress do so ? ' asked the 
Spaniard. * I fear not, but if she wishes to please her 
subjects and succeed in her affairs, she ought to do so,' 
said Lethington. c I do not know/ he continued, 'how 
we can put up with the Archduke. He is so poor, 


and wc have no money"fo give him/ Lethington's 
short-lived sympathy with a thoroughgoing Catholic 
policy had thus evidendy yielded to the diplomacy of 
Elizabeth and Catharine, and he went back to Scot- 
land, once more, the Queen of England's humble 
servant. 1 

He had before his eyes in Elizabeth's palace at 
Greenwich an object-lesson more significant even than 
the English queen's open threat to his mistress. By 
the side of Elizabeth, and in high favour, now stood 
the bewildered Margaret, Countess of Lennox, and the 
talk of the court was that if Mary dared to marry 
against Elizabeth's wish, young Darnley and not she 
would be proclaimed heir of England. A cloud of 
rumours were flying too, both in England and Scotland, 
that even the Catholics would prefer that Mary should 
take her cousin Darnley for a husband, with Elizabeth's 
blessing and the heirship, than that the poor Archduke 
should in spite of the English queen be foisted upon 
them to destroy all hope of the union of the crowns 
under Mary. At the same time Lethington left himself 
a loophole to return to the Spanish match, which he 
knew his mistress preferred, if circumstances rendered 
such a course desirable. The Archduke he would not 
hear of, as we have seen, but he still dangled before the 
Spaniard the fear that Mary might after all wed the 
French king. His last words to the ambassador gave 
his irreducible minimum condition for the acceptance 
of the Archduke (failing Don Carlos, of whom by 

1 The Spanish bishop, who had served as intermediary between Lething- 
ton and the English Catholic nobles during the time that the Scottish 
minister was planning the Catholic Spanish combination, was in great 
trepidation, now that Lethington had veered again, least he should divulge 
the whole business to Elizabeth. 



reason of Philip's long silence he had evidently lost 
hope). Unless Philip would maintain the Archduke 
and undertake to provide means for Mary to enforce 
her English claims by arms, his mistress would make 
the best of matters, and marry a husband to Elizabeth's 
liking in return for the heirship to the English 

About a month after Lethington left London for 
Scotland Philip's important letter, already quoted, 
reached the hands of his ambassador in London. The 
old bishop was feeble and ill when he received it, and 
was doubtful of success. Lethington's changed tone, 
and Elizabeth's firm veto on a Spanish or Austrian 
marriage, made him think that perhaps negotiations 
for another husband had gone further than he knew, 
and he dared not send to Mary or her ministers Philip's 
approval of her marriage with his son for fear that the 
whole plan might be divulged to the English, the 
international relations rendered more bitter than ever, 
and the fate of the English Catholic nobles still 
harder. The ambassador saw, moreover, how inade- 
quate Philip's slow methods were to the quickly 
moving circumstances. * The remedy is a weak one,' 
he wrote to the Duke of Alba, * for so dangerous a 
malady. When they (the Scots) see that instead of 
giving them a firm reply, we come only with halting 
proposals, I know not what they will think. It is 
useless to ask them to give me information as to 
the support the Queen of Scots can count upon in 
England for the information of the king. Lething- 
ton knows well that all this has been done long ago, 
as he told me what he was doing, and of course I 
could not hide my communications from him. We 


have been spoken to by the same people about the 
marriage, and those who have urged me to propose 
it to his Majesty (Philip) have also pressed Lethington 
to recommend it to his Queen, and have given him 
lists of Catholics and others who could raise troops 
for her service.' * In fear and doubt, therefore, the 
Spanish bishop at last decided to invent an excuse for 
sending one of his confidential agents to Scotland, 
with a verbal message to Mary herself, saying that 
he had very* important intelligence to convey to her 
respecting her marriage, and begging her to send a 
trustworthy envoy to London to receive it for her. 
The messenger left London in the middle of July 
(1563) and saw Mary during her progress in the 
Western Highlands. The details of the interview are 
not known ; but it is evident from what followed that 
the Queen received the message with delight. She 
had sent back to France two months before, with a 
procrastinating answer, Cardinal Lorraine's emissary, 
who had visited her to gain her final consent to a 
marriage with the Archduke, and in June she had 
treated Eric of Sweden's new matrimonial approaches 
with increased coolness. Randolph, moreover, had 
just been summoned to London by Elizabeth for the 
purpose of laying new plans for the frustration of the 
threatened Austrian match, which was the only one 
that for the moment the English thought probable, 
thanks to the secrecy and slowness of the Spanish 
negotiation. Mary's hands were therefore free to 
grasp the welcome opportunity of renewing the 
splendid plan which early in the year had been un- 
folded by Lethington to the Spanish ambassador in 

1 Spanish Calendar, vol. i. p. 346. 


London. Luis de Paz, the Spanish agent, hurried back 
to his master with Mary's verbal reply, but found 
the old bishop breathing his last at Langley, and the 
promising negotiations were again interrupted until a 
new medium of communication had been devised. 

In the meanwhile Randolph received from Elizabeth 
and Cecil his instructions for driving Mary into a 
marriage which should deprive her of international 
importance. He was to tell Mary that the plots of 
Cardinal Lorraine to the detriment of England and 
to marry Mary to the Archduke were known, and 
though it was not believed that Mary had any sinister 
intent, yet such a match * would hinder our wish to 
favour by all means that we can to try and determine 
her right and title, whether she be, or ought to be, by 
the law of God and man, our next cousin in blood by 
our father, and succeed us in this crown of England, 
if we shall depart this life without children/ The old 
bait, as will be seen, was still considered efficacious. 
If Mary asked Randolph whom Elizabeth wished her 
to marry, he was to reply, * as if of his own accord,' 
that he believed that 'some person of noble birth 
within our realm, having conditions and qualities 
meet for the same/ would best content his mistress : 
'yea, perchance, such as she would hardly think we 
could agree to, might be found out to content her, 
and therewith be agreeable to us, and to both our 
nations ; and further her interest, if so she should 
appear that she be our next heir * ; and Randolph was 
again to threaten * that no mighty marriage must be 
sought for, if she or her Council regard either amity 
or favour of this realm.' 1 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 19. 


By this message Darnley or Leicester is evidently 
indicated as Elizabeth's candidate ; but to those who 
are versed in her methods and policy, nothing can be 
more certain than that both the succession bait, and 
the Darnley inducement if it was suggested, were 
insincere. Elizabeth never had any intention of de- 
claring either Mary or any one else her heir, and 
certainly did not desire to unite the two Catholic 
pretenders to her throne in one interest ; but the 
Archduke's match, amongst other possible proposals, 
had to be defeated, and the course adopted by 
Elizabeth seemed the most likely to secure the end 
desired. Cecil, too, wrote a confidential letter to 
Lethington, vaguely holding out hopes that the long- 
promised settlement with Mary for the marriage and 
recognition of the latter would really be effected. The 
pretence had grown a little threadbare by this time, 
and Lethington replied somewhat curtly that Cecil's 
news was * comfortable,' though he was * unable to 
conceive Cecil's full meaning.' But he added signifi- 
cantly, that though it might suit Elizabeth to have her 
relations with foreign princes * hanging in suspense,' 
* yet well I know that the Quene my maistres' estate 
is soche as may not long stand in doutfull terms with 
foreign princes, and therefor must shortly resolve one 
way or other. ... I pray God time be taken, while 
it last, for I fear if the present be not well plyed, the 
like shall not be offered hereafter.' l 

After conference and dinner with Murray and 
Lethington, Elizabeth's agent saw the Queen of Scots 

1 Scottish Calendar ■, Bain, vol. ii. p. 21. Mary had just granted to 
Lethington the valuable estates of the Abbey of Haddington. This may 
have influenced him to co-operate in her marriage scheme. 


at Craigmillar, on the ist September, to deliver the 
pregnant message with which he was charged. Mary 
was excited and voluble, interrupting Randolph in 
his discourse with so many exclamations and inquiries 
that * scharce in one howre I could utter that which 
myght have byne spoken in one quarter/ When, at 
length, he had finished, the Queen requested him to 
put his message in writing, that she and her councillors 
might duly consider it ; and Randolph, with the un- 
comfortable conviction that the currents were not 
setting entirely in his mistress's favour, wrote to 
Cecil, that although the Protestants of Edinburgh 
were as strongly Anglophil as ever, and dreaded 
much the Catholic match which they believed was * a 
makinge * ; yet, as for Mary herself, ' I fear she is 
more Spanish than Imperial, and if my judgment fail 
me not you shall find it true.' 1 

Now that Mary and her ministers knew from the 
verbal Spanish message that Philip was willing to treat 
for her marriage with his only son, it is evident that 
the vague half-promises of Elizabeth and Cecil had 
less potency than at any previous time. This is 
plainly seen in the dignified reply sent by Murray to 
Cecil, who had written to him in alarmed remon- 
strance upon receiving Randolph's report. There was, 
Murray assured the English minister, 'very small 
handling ' of the dreaded match Catholic in Scotland, 
great as had been the noise made about it elsewhere ; 
and Cecil was, said Murray, worrying himself un- 
necessarily about it. Mary, he promised, would take 
no sudden step in the matter, nor would she act 
* without long deliberation, and the advice of her 

1 Scottish Calendar •, Bain, vol. ii. p. ax. 


loving subjects and most assured friends/ But he 
continued, ' it is not her Majesty's honour to impede 
and stop the suit of princes, nor can I advise her 
highness so to do.' Murray told the bare truth. 
Very little had been done in Scotland in negotiating 
either the Spanish or the Austrian match. The latter 
negotiation had been entirely managed by Cardinal 
Lorraine, and was at this time, as we have seen, 
practically rejected by Mary, except on impossible 
conditions of Spanish support ; whilst the marriage 
with Don Carlos had gone no further than the ad- 
vances made by Lethington and the English Catholics 
in London early in the year, and the conveyance to 
Mary of the vague verbal message by the Spanish 
agent Luis de Paz, to the effect that the King of 
Spain was willing to negotiate with her. But the 
tone of Murray's letter, and the suggestio falsi that it 
contains, fully confirm Knox's suspicions conveyed to 
Cecil a fortnight later, that not only had the Queen 
won over most of her councillors and nobles to her 
plan for the great combination that might enable her 
to beat Elizabeth at her own blustering game, but 
that even Murray, 'the man most inward with you 
and dear unto me,' was not absolutely to be trusted. 

Randolph hurried home to England, full of doubts 
and fears, and carrying from Mary a diplomatic 
inquiry, intended to delay matters whilst forcing 
Elizabeth to declare herself more openly. What 
marriages, she was to be asked, would be, in the 
opinion of the Queen of England, * sortable ' for her 
sister of Scotland. Elizabeth, however, had no in- 
tention of allowing herself to be drawn prematurely, 
and Randolph posted back to Scotland with a mere 


variation of his former message, to the effect that his 
mistress recommended * some fit nobleman within the 
island, well affected to concord ; but that no child of 
France, Spain, or Austria would be acceptable ' ; and 
once more Mary was warned that largely upon her 
choice of a husband the recognition of her right to 
the English succession would depend. 

Mary was ill in bed — with overmuch dancing, said 
some, with overmuch devotion, said others — when 
Randolph arrived in Edinburgh, and a few days later 
(nth December 1563), whilst still in bed, she received 
him. Elizabeth had sent her by him a splendid ring, 
which she displayed upon her finger with girlish delight. 
That, and the bridal ring of her late husband, Francis, 
must go to the grave with her, she said, 'and willingly 
should never be out of her sight/ But jewels and fine 
words were powerless to allay the uneasiness caused 
by the vague hints and veiled threats with which she 
knew Randolph was charged. For weeks previously 
she had been c divers times in great melancholy, her 
grief being marvellous secret, and she often weeps 
when there is little apparent occasion.' But now she 
grew rapidly worse, until her life was almost despaired 
of for a week, though she evaded the formal convey- 
ance to her of Elizabeth's second message. Randolph 
reported the opinion that 'the Queen's sickness is 
caused by her utterly despairing of the marriage of 
any of those she looked for ; they abroad being 
neither very hasty, nor her subjects here very willing, 
or bent those ways. This conceit, say some, has been 
in her head some five weeks or more/ 1 We can 

1 Still more unlikely is the other explanation venomously suggested by 
Randolph as the cause of Mary's illness. The Queen's ( potticary ' had 


probably make a better guess than Randolph at the 
real reason for Mary's depression when we call to 
mind that the death of the Spanish bishop in London, 
of which she must have heard in September, had 
dashed for the time her hope of carrying through 
speedily and secretly the match upon which her heart 
was set, and which, she knew, Philip was ready to 
negotiate, and no more. Weeks, perhaps months, 
might pass before confidential communications could 
again be established with far-away Spain ; and in the 
meanwhile Elizabeth's arrogant exigency was increas- 
ing. Mary did her best to delay matters by remain- 
ing in bed, and deferring her critical conferences with 
Randolph, whilst she endeavoured to get into confi- 
dential correspondence with Cardinal de Granvelle in 
Flanders, and the Duchess of Arschot, who at an 
earlier stage, as will be recollected, endeavoured to 
engineer a marriage between Mary and Don Carlos. 

It was in the last days of December 1563 that at 
length the Scottish queen, unable to delay further, 
listened formally, still in bed at Holyrood, to Eliza- 
beth's message, of which doubtless she knew the 
purport weeks before. Again she heard that though 
the Queen of England would mention no name of a 
suitor she recommended, yet she still harped upon 
' some nobleman of her realm, who besides many other 
good virtues should have special desire to unite the 
two countries in perpetual concord.' After some 

got ( one of the Quene's maydens, a Frenche woman in credit, and near 
abowt to her Grace's self, with divide/ An attempt to avoid the disgrace 
by drugs had ended disastrously, and both culprits were sent to prison 
and hanged. ' Whether these things are so heavily taken that they can 
make her (Mary) so sick, as within 8 days men doubted her life, I know 


fencing Mary told Randolph that she understood 
more than the words conveyed. She did not know 
what the world would think of the match hinted at; 
but, as for Elizabeth's expression with regard to the 
English succession claim, that was satisfactory to her. 
Tiring, at last, of long-winded diplomatic phrase- 
making on both sides, Mary broke out with : ' Master 
Randolph! you have something else to say to me. 
Tell me plainly what is in your mistress' mind, that 
I may . . . give you a resolute answer/ *I have 
delivered my message, Madame/ was the reply, ' but 
if you will give me leave to say my own opinion, I 
should advise you to send some trusted adviser to 
confer with her Majesty, and learn her mind/ Ran- 
dolph stood aside for a moment, and Mary called 
Argyle to her. ' Randolph would have me marry in 
England/ she said to him. ' What I * replied Argyle, 
c is the Queen of England become a man ? ' * Who is 
there in England whom you would wish me to marry ?' 
asked Mary with rising pride. Argyle was a strenuous 
supporter of the English party, and could not, at least 
in the presence of Randolph, turn his back on Eliza- 
beth's suggestion. 1 1 wish/ he said, l that there were 
so noble a man in England whom her Grace could 
like.' 'That would not please the Duke/ 1 exclaimed 
Mary. c If it please God and be good for Scotland, 
what reck whom be displeased/ retorted Argyle ; but 
the Queen gave no sign by face or gesture of what 
she thought of the proposal herself; and for days 
afterwards she kept her bed, though observers were 
fain to remark that she did not now seem ill. Nor 

1 The Duke of Chatelherault, next heir to the Scottish crown after 


was she ; but delay was vital for the success of her 

People in Edinburgh besieged Randolph to know 
what it all meant. Whom did his mistress wish their 
Queen to marry ? The general idea was that Darnley 
or the Earl of Warwick (Ambrose Dudley) would be 
Elizabeth's choice ; but Randolph himself apparently 
thought that Leicester was meant, though he kept his 
idea secret, except from a very few upon whom he 
could depend. He believed, however, that Mary her- 
self so understood his vague expressions. He was 
right at this time (New Year's day, 1564) in his 
opinion that the Archduke's match, so dearly desired 
by Cardinal Lorraine, was c off,' though he was in- 
correct in thinking that this was the reason for Mary's 
sadness. In vain he waited for the Queen's answer to 
Elizabeth's message. For weeks Mary kept him in 
play, entertaining him often and chatting gaily with 
him, but never committing herself to a formal con- 
ference ; for Cardinal Lorraine had heard the news of 
Elizabeth's project to marry his niece to one of the 
Dudleys, and was vehemently urging Mary by letters 
not to c abase herself to serve the turn of the heretics. 
Catharine de Medici also had taken fright at such a 
possibility, and sought by presents and sweet messages, 
which Mary deeply distrusted, to wean her daughter-in- 
law from a match which would deprive France, in any 
case, of a possible ally against England at need. But, 
above all, what spurred Mary to continue her clever 
procrastination, with which Elizabeth was bitterly re- 
proaching poor Randolph, was the fact that at last, 
at the end of January 1564, she had managed to 
establish communications with Cardinal de Granvelle, 


and things began to look hopeful again for the marriage 
with Don Carlos. 1 Mary's spirits rose as she also saw 
herself courted and flattered by the French, who sud- 
denly granted all the requests she had long preferred 
in vain. Her illness, real or assumed, had delayed 
grave discourse with Randolph through December 
and January, but in February it was her 'mirth 
and pastimes' that occupied her to exclusion of 
business. Such banquets were held as no Scotsman 
recollected to have seen, except at the marriage of a 
sovereign ; and though Elizabeth's health was drunk 
deeply and often, no answer was sent to her message. 

In the meanwhile Mary's French secretary Raulet 
and other emissaries were speeding backwards and 
forwards to Flanders ; and the Florentine Angelo 
with messages from the Duchess of Arschot and de 
Granvelle came continually to infuse fresh hope and 
confidence in the Queen of Scots. The latter was 
doing her best to persuade Cardinal Lorraine also tp 
espouse her idea of a Spanish match, but of success in 
this she was not too confident. The Cardinal, after 
imprisonment and banishment, was in February 1 564 
suddenly summoned by Catharine to court on his 
return from the Council of Trent, and, to the stupe- 
faction of most onlookers, was treated with marked 
cordiality by the Queen - Mother. The reason of 
Catharine's new-born amiability to him is not far to 
seek. The coming and going of agents between Mary 
and Granvelle could not escape the notice of spies : 

1 Granvellc's first communication was sent to Mary in December by 
means of a Florentine called Angelo, and the Queen's French secretary 
Raulet was then despatched, ostensibly to see Cardinal Lorraine, but really 
to arrange with Granvelle, for correspondence. The letters arc in 
LabanoflTs Recutil. 


some of the letters, indeed, had been intercepted, and 
it was soon evident both to Elizabeth and to Catharine 
that the dreaded union of Spain and Scotland was 
being planned behind their backs. When, therefore, 
Cardinal Lorraine was received so kindly, his niece, at 
all events, was under no misapprehension as to the 
significance of the fact. ' Je prie a Dieu/ she writes 
to Granvelle on the nth March 1564, 'qu'il sache 
bien guarder de croire aux belles paroles de ceux que, 
je m'assure ne le desirent si pres d'eux qu'ils en font 
semblant. Je lui en ai bien ecrit ma fantasie. . . . 
Quant a moi, je ne me puis guarder d'en etre en 
grande peine/ l 

To Elizabeth it was even more important than to 
Catharine that the Spanish-Scottish project should be 
nipped in the bud at any cost ; and, whilst the Queen- 
Mother's counter-stroke was to draw closer to her 
son-in-law Philip 11. and once more cross the scent 
with her suggestions for a marriage of Elizabeth 2 with 
the boy Charles ix., and of Mary Stuart with his 
younger brother Anjou, the Queen of England found 
herself at length obliged to speak clearly with regard 
to the name of her candidate for Mary's hand. 
Randolph had been for some time past growing some- 
what fractious at the impossible task imposed upon 
him. He knew, he said, that Mary's c noble stomacke 
can never imbase ytself so lowe as to marrie in place 
inferiour to herself,' and none of her councillors would 
advise her to do so. Besides, even the best friends of 
England were urging upon him the unfairness of for- 

1 LabanoflF, vol. i. p. 214. 

9 The English had now evacuated Havre de Grace, and a general peace 
was concluded in the spring of 1564. between the French and English 
governments and the Huguenots. 


bidding Mary to marry a foreign prince, and yet with- 
holding the name of the nobleman whom Elizabeth 
wished her to take. But what puzzled Randolph 
more than anything else, was why Dudley was to be 
the happy man. Mary, if she chose an Englishman 
at all, would of course only have the best, namely, 
Robert Dudley, and he surely could not forsake the 
refulgent sun in England which he worshipped ; and 
if he did, how could a lover so disloyal and fickle ever 
be respected by any woman again. 1 Why did not 
Dudley marry Elizabeth herself, asked Randolph of 
Cecil. These, and a dozen similar doubts, raised 
by the Scottish ministers as well as by the English 
agent himself, cannot have been without influence 
in deciding Elizabeth to declare herself. Mary and 
her advisers had used every diplomatic art to draw 
from Randolph a hint as to the person to be pro- 
posed ; but as he says he ' styflye stondes,' and kept 
his own council, saying just enough in a non-com- 
mittal way to make Murray and Lethington able 
to guess that Dudley was the man indicated. 

The talk with Mary always turned upon wedlock 
now : the sorrows of widowhood, the comforts and 
joys of wifehood and motherhood, and the like ; 
but both parties kept on their guard, and would 
mention no names, though by most people in Scot- 
land, with the exception of Mary, Lethington, 
Murray, and Argyle, it was believed that Darnley 
would finally receive Elizabeth's support. Murray 
and Lethington either believed, or pretended to 

1 One of Randolph's curious inducements to Mary to take a husband 
was 'that at least she will have compassion on her four Maries, her 
worthy daughters and mignions, that for her sake have vowed never to 
marry until she does so/ 


believe, that there was now no probability of any 
foreign match being arranged, and unreservedly pledged 
themselves to favour any suitor recommended by 
Elizabeth ; but it is unquestionable that Mary was 
at this time (the spring and summer of 1564) in 
close communication with de Granvelle, and had 
received assurance that Don Carlos would be sent 
to Flanders to facilitate an interview with her. 

In the meanwhile, amidst a prodigious amount 
of banqueting, piping, and dancing, and much sour 
suspicion of intended treachery against the Protes- 
tants, 1 Mary played her game with wonderful adroit- 
ness. Her answer to Elizabeth, when it was given 
in March, consisted only of amiable platitudes, and 
her discourses with Randolph about marriage always 
left the poor man dazed with doubt. She could not 
forget her dear Francis yet, she said; she was still 
young and could wait ; and then, in the next breath, 
she deplored that no suitors courted her. Sometimes 
she found it incompatible with her modesty to discuss 
the person of her future husband, but said that if 
Randolph would consult Murray and Lethington they 
would tell him her mind. They were just as vague 
as she, and would not go beyond generalities ; and 
when at last, in March 1564, Elizabeth and Cecil 
understood that in diplomatic delay they had met 
their equals, Randolph was instructed to mention 
several impossible suitors, and wind up his list with 
the name of Lord Robert Dudley, who was to be 
specially praised. 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. Cardinal Lorraine's agents were busy 
now in Scotland, and some artillery and ammunition was sent to Mary 
from France. The Inch was fortified, and the Scots feared a coup de main 
to force the Mass upon them. 


Randolph saw Mary at Perth late in the month, 
and she heard his message with feigned surprise. 
It was so sudden, she said, and she must have time 
to consider such a suggestion ; but as the Englishman 
pressed her, she asked him whether he thought it 
befitted her dignity to marry a subject. Dignity, he 
replied, was not the only thing to be considered, and 
surely there could be no greater honour than to marry 
one who might gain for her such a realm as England. 
To this Mary answered that she hardly expected that. 
Elizabeth might marry, and, in any case, would pro- 
bably live longer than she herself. The point now to 
be considered, she continued, was to please her friends, 
( who would hardly agree that I should abase my state 
so far as that ! * * Then she sent her courtiers out of 
hearing, and said : I did not expect to talk so far upon 
the matter now, but since we have begun it, 1 1 will 
sitte downe and reason homlye with you.' * Now, tell 
me, Master R., doth your mestres, in good erneste, 
wysh me to marrie my Lord Roberte/ Randolph 
assured her that she did, and that no worthier man 
than Dudley could be found. And then Mary, in a 
few trenchant sentences, laid bare the many disadvan- 
tages of the proposal, its onesidedness, and the uncer- 
tainty of any advantage from it accruing to her, even 
if she lowered herself to it 

At supper, afterwards, they were all sarcastically 
merry over it, Murray asking why Randolph did 
not use his eloquence in persuading Elizabeth to 
marry, instead of * troubling our Queen, that yet 
never had more thought of marriage than she hath 
of her dinner when she is hongrie.' Lethington 
was closeted with Mary far into the night, and on 


the following morning gave Randolph his answer. 
The Queen, he said, had been taken by surprise, 
and could not either accept or reject the proposal 
* on so shorte advysement.' She wished to learn 
more of the conditions and guarantees offered by 
Elizabeth, and begged that a councillor, such as the 
Earl of Bedford, might be sent to Berwick to 
confer with a special envoy from Mary. But, in 
the meanwhile, 'for the person himself she could 
have no myslykynge of hym, of whome the reporte 
was so good, and by her good syster was so re- 
commended.* * 

It is impossible to believe that Elizabeth ever 
intended to allow her own lover Dudley to marry 
the Queen of Scots, or that he would have con- 
sented to do so whilst he had any hope of wedding 
Elizabeth herself. There was, however, no other 
possible person whom the latter could trust to play 
the part in the comedy she wished, and to renounce 
the pretence when required. Her one desire, for 
the moment, was to prevent Mary from marrying 
a foreign prince, and the only lever she had for 
the purpose was that of the English succession. 
This, however, had become somewhat worn and weak 
by itself, and in future needed to be used in con- 
junction with a marriage negotiation. There was 
no one in England but Darnley who was really a 
suitable match for Mary, and it is highly probable 
that in certain circumstances, conjoined with the 
absolute submission of Lady Lennox and her son 
to Protestantism and the English interest, Elizabeth 
was prepared to accept Darnley as a suitor for Mary, 

1 Scottish Calendar 9 Bain, vol. ii. p. 58. 


though, even so, she would never have proclaimed 
either of them her heir. But Lady Lennox was 
unwise ; she was, moreover, a stanch Catholic, who 
had an eye on the English succession for herself, 
as the only serious Catholic claimant ; and, much as 
she desired to propitiate Elizabeth, she would not 
surrender her position. Dudley, on the other hand, 
was a perfecdy safe instrument. He might be flashed 
before Mary, jointly with the English succession, until 
the danger of a foreign match had blown over, with 
the certainty that at any moment Elizabeth could bring 
him to her feet again with a smile, or what would be 
a more probable signal between them, a wink, leaving 
Mary more discredited than ever, and her chances of 
making a dangerous match proportionately reduced. 
Dudley was therefore adopted as the stalking horse, 
because with him alone Elizabeth was free from risk, 
and apparently certain of humiliating Mary whilst 
leaving her without a husband after all. The plan 
was a clever one, but, except on conditions which she 
would never have granted, it was too good from 
Elizabeth's point of view to succeed with Scotsmen so 
wary as Murray and Lethington, obedient servants 
though they now were to England. Mary's pride, 
moreover, would have saved her from the dangerous 
pitfall dug for her on this occasion, even without her 
ministers' aid. It was a little later, when her passion 
over-rode her prudence as well as her pride, that she 
handed herself bound to her enemies. 


Leicester's suit cools for a time — Elizabeth's change of front — Betrayal 
of Mary by Cardinal Lorraine — Catharine's intrigues to prevent 
Mary's marriage— Offers a French prince — Castelnau's mission to 
Scotland and England — The Darnleyplan — Elizabeth's hesitation — 
Lennox goes to Scotland — Melville's mission to Elizabeth — Mary's 
pretended sympathy with the Dudley proposals — Dudley's (Leicester's) 
disclaimer — Mary warned of Elizabeth's real object — Dissimulation 
on both sides— Randolph hopeful still of the Leicester match — Mary's 
anxiety for an answer from Spain — John Beaton sees the Spanish 
ambassador in London — Philip's refusal unofficially reaches Mary — 
Her pretence of French approaches — Her diplomatic play with 
Randolph — Her determination that recognition of her right to the 
English succession shall precede her acceptance of Leicester — Arrival 
of Darnley in Scotland — Randolph puzzled — Impression produced by 
Darnley — Murray's alarm — He remonstrates with Elizabeth and Cecil 
on their slow ungenerous policy — Elizabeth finally refuses to recognise 
Mary's heirship — Mary's love for Darnley precipitates her diplomacy 
— Randolph still hopeful of Leicester. 

Mary Stuart's ambitious scheme for her marriage 
with the son of Spain was sacrificed to greater and 
more powerful interests than her own. She knew by 
experience that Catharine de Medici was always most 
dangerous when she spoke fair, and, as we have seen, 
Mary grew distrustful as soon as sweet messages 
came thick and fast to her from France, and Cardinal 
Lorraine and the ultra-Catholics were made much of 
by the Queen-Mother. She had ample reason for 
her distrust, though it was probably not based upon 



an exact knowledge of what was going on at the time. 
Philip had finally realised (1564) that he must crush 
Protestantism in his own Netherlands dominions or 
abandon his dream of the unity of Christendom on 
Spanish lines. Catharine, too, began to fear that her 
Huguenot friends were becoming more independent 
than suited her, so Lorraine and his Catholics once 
more found themselves in favour, and negotiations 
under their management and that of Alba soon ended 
in the famous convention between Catharine and her 
Spanish son-in-law for the joint extirpation of heresy 
throughout the world, which was to be finally sealed 
at the interviews between Catharine and her daughter 
at Bayonne. 

Whenever France and Spain drew together Elizabeth 
of England softened her tone, and on the arrival in 
England of the new Spanish ambassador, Guzman de 
Silva (June 1564), he found the Queen, and especially 
Dudley, pretending that they were almost Catholic. 
Dudley began to hint to the ambassador on the very 
day the latter arrived, that if he could get the counten- 
ance and aid of Spain he would remove Cecil, marry 
the Queen of England, and submit to the Catholic 
Church ;* whilst Elizabeth surpassed herself in religious 
tergiversation and provocative political coquetry to- 
wards the broad-minded, amiable Churchman who now 
represented Philip at her court. 8 In this condition of 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 366. 

1 Her blandishments on one occasion, at least, took the form, absurd 
enough in the circumstances, of a hint that Don Carlos should come 
and marry her ! At a great entertainment she gave to Guzman, she asked 
him if the Spanish prince had grown manly. She was assured that he had, 
and sighed sentimentally. ' Ah 1 me I Every one disdains me. I hear 
that he is to be married to the Queen of Scots. Guzman earnestly assured 
her that the Prince's health had been so bad recently that such a thing 


affairs it was impossible to keep up the pretence that 
Dudley was a suitor for Mary's hand, in sympathy 
with Knox and the Protestants, and young Darnley 
was again ostentatiously brought to the front in the 
English court. It was Darnley who received the new 
ambassador on behalf of the Queen at the door of 
the council-chamber at Richmond, and who conducted 
him to his barge at the end of his interview ; and the 
first news that had greeted Guzman when he approached 
England was that Elizabeth was to meet the Queen of 
Scots and arrange for her to marry c the son of Lady 
Margaret Lennox/ 

But the negotiations of the Franco-Spanish Catholic 
league brought about a still more important change 
in Mary's matrimonial prospects than the substitution 
of one English candidate for another. It has already 
been explained why Lorraine and the French Catholics 
dreaded at this period a Spanish marriage for the Queen 
of Scots ; and now that Catholics throughout the world 
were to be leagued together for Spanish objects, Philip 
could allow Cardinal Lorraine's plan for the marriage 
of Mary with the Archduke Charles to be brought 
forward officially. In his own hand, therefore, the 
King wrote to his ambassador in England (8 th August 
1564) : 'As to the Queen of Scots, I understand that 
Cardinal Lorraine has offered her in marriage to the 
Emperor for the Archduke Charles ; and for this, and 

was quite out of the question, but added that people would gossip about 
princes. * That is very true,' replied the Queen. • Why, they even said in 
London the other day that the King was sending an ambassador to treat 
of the marriage of Don Carlos with me ! * The hook in the bait was too 
evident, and nothing came of the hint, for Philip and Catharine were as 
' thick as thieves ' at the time, and idea of a marriage of Carlos and Mary 
was no longer being entertained by Philip. (See Courtships of S(ueen 


other sufficient reasons, the proposal to marry the said 
Queen with my son Carlos must now be considered 
at an end/ 1 Mary's hopes were, as we have seen, 
entirely founded upon this match, and her passionate 
protest at a later date 2 against the way in which her 
uncle, Cardinal Lorraine, had betrayed her, proves 
how deeply she felt the irreparable injury that had 
been done to her, and, as she said, driven her into 
the Darnley marriage. We shall see later, however, 
that the unfortunate union with her English cousin 
was not entirely caused by her betrayal by her French 

As soon as Catharine had * squared ' Philip n., and 
knew she had not to fear a marriage between Don 
Carlos and Mary that might have made Great Britain 
Spanish and Catholic, she set about dealing character- 
istically with the alternative danger of a match that 
might make Scodand English and solidly Protestant. 
She chose as her instrument one of the most persuasive 
diplomatists of the time, Castelnau de la Mauvissiere, 
who in his old age told his own story so gracefully. 
He had gone to England early in the year (1564) 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 371. Later in the year the 
Duchess of Arschot wrote to Mary to the same effect, and the answer sent 
by the Queen of Scots (3rd January 1565) clearly shows her anger at 
Lorraine's betrayal of her. She begins by saying that she is dad to hear 
the decision of the King, as now she was in a position to take her own 
course, without being blamed for hastiness. «Et quant a ce que a est£ 
asseuif de Taccord entre le fils de l'Empereur et moi, ils sont mal informez, 
car, fors quelques propos qu'il y a plus d'un an, qui furent entre le Cardinal 
de Lorraine, mon oncle, et luy, je n'en ai riens ouy depuis : et je vous 
asseure que c'est le party a quoy, pour vous parler librement, j'ay le moins 
pen see , , . pour estre le moins commode pour radvanchement de mes 
affaires, tant en ce pays qu'en celuy la ou je pretend quelque droit. . . . 
Au reste, je suis hi en deliberee de regarder a me resouldre, car mes affaires 
et mes subjects m T en pressent* (Labanoff, vol. i. p. 249). 

* In her apologia for having married Darnley (Labanoff, vol. i. p. 296), 


respecting the negotiations for the peace between 
England and the French Catholics, and had to some ' 

extent captured the good graces of Elizabeth. He 
was now sent back in the autumn with a double 
matrimonial mission ; neither of which probably was 
more than a political device. The proposal of a 
marriage between the young King Charles ix., now 
aged fifteen, either with Mary or Elizabeth had 
several times before been made use of by Catharine 
for her ends ; but the mission intrusted to Castelnau 
was more complicated both in execution and in aim 
than any previous proposal of the sort. 

Elizabeth, as soon as she knew that Mary's marriage 
with the Archduke Charles was officially offered by 
Cardinal Lorraine, found an excuse for sending (in 
October 1564) to the new Emperor Maximilian and 
re-opening the sham negotiations for her own marriage 
with her old flame the Archduke ; and Catharine 
determined to anticipate this thrust by offering to the 
English queen the hand of the boy King of France. 
Elizabeth had laughed at the idea when Conde hinted 
at it a year before, but when it was suggested, first by 
Catharine to Sir Thomas Smith in Paris, and soon 
afterwards by Castelnau de la Mauvissiere in London, 
it was at all events good enough to be used for a time 
by Elizabeth for her own ends. Guzman, half in 
joke and to arouse her jealousy of France, told her in 
October that Mary was much more likely to marry 
Charles ix. than Don Carlos, and Elizabeth indig- 
nantly retorted that the French king was offered to 

When Castelnau had made the offer in August she 
was very gracious, thanking the King and his mother 


for the honour done to her ; but saying that she 
found one difficulty in it, namely, that 'her good 
brother the Christian King was too great and too 
little. He had so large and noble a kingdom that 
he could never be expected to reside in England, 
and her subjects loved to have their sovereigns con- 
stantly amongst them. Besides, he was too little, 
being very young, and she an old woman over 
thirty.' 1 But though Elizabeth was too modest to 
give the hint herself, her councillors cleverly en- 
deavoured to stultify the second part of Castelnau's 
mission, which they knew or guessed, namely, the 
marriage of Mary Stuart with the young brother of 
the King, the Duke of Anjou, barely fourteen years of 
age. Dudley told the Frenchman that there would be 
no similar objection made if Anjou were offered to 
Elizabeth, and Castelnau went on his way to Scotland 
already unsettled with the idea of the new possibilities 
offered by the hint. 

Mary received him graciously, and at once told 
him of the suggestions that had come to her for 
her marriage with the Archduke, the Duke of Ferrara, 
several German princes, the Prince of Conde ; * and 
with one greater than any of these, the Prince of 
Spain, whose father King Philip proposed to send him 
for the purpose to the Netherlands.' 2 This was said 
some three months before Mary's eyes were opened to 
her betrayal in this matter, and, in full confidence still 
of being able to bring about the great match, she 
answered Castelnau's offer of Anjou by saying that 
* though she loved France better than any country in 
the world, she could never think of returning thither 

1 Castelnau de la Mauvissiere, Memoir es. * Ibid, 


in a lower station than that she had formerly enjoyed 
there, or risk losing her own realm, which was so 
gravely divided, in her absence. She loved equal 
grandeur, and if the Prince of Spain came into Flan- 
ders and continued his suit, she did not know what 
she might do/ l 

Here spoke the true Mary Stuart. She would 
marry no prince but one strong enough to assert by 
force her right to the crown of England, and to 
compel Great Britain finally to be Catholic. Don 
Carlos or Charles ix. alone possessed the necessary 
qualifications, and she was willing to marry either of 
them ; but, as we have seen, the courtship-jugglery of 
Elizabeth, the mutual jealousy of France and Spain, 
and the determination of Catharine to be mistress of 
France by balancing one religious faction against the 
other, made both marriages unattainable by Mary, as 
she herself feared before many days more had passed. 

In the meanwhile the Lennoxes and their tall, pretty 
stripling of a son were basking in the sunshine of 
Elizabeth's court. The confiscation of the earl's estates 
in Scotland, mentioned in an earlier chapter, had never 
been revoked, and since the arrival of Mary in Scot- 
land Elizabeth had on more than one occasion sup- 
ported the prayers of Lennox and his wife that the 
attainder against him might be raised, and his ancestral 
estates restored. That the English queen should once 
more take up Darnley as a second string to her bow, 
at the period when Dudley became temporarily less 
serviceable as a nominal candidate for the position of 
Mary's husband, is one more proof of the cunning 
adaptability of Elizabeth's diplomacy. Failing Dudley, 

1 Castelnau de la Mauyissicre, Memoir es. 


it was evident that no English suitor had the remotest 
chance of consideration by Mary but Henry, Lord 
Darnley. Lennox was a weak, unstable man, easily 
dealt with, and one whose religious convictions were 
of a mild character ; but Lady Lennox was fond of 
looking upon herself as the Catholic claimant to the 
English crown, and her intriguing fussiness made her 
a possibly dangerous personage as an instrument in 
the hands of Elizabeth's enemies. Elizabeth could 
therefore only countenance even the appearance of 
Darnley's candidature on condition of her being able 
to buy the Lennoxes absolutely. The earl might be 
gained by making him depend upon Elizabeth for his 
restoration to the position of a great Scottish noble, 
and Lady Margaret must be dealt with delicately by 
holding out the always efficacious bait of the recog- 
nition of her own or her children's claim to succeed to 
the crown of England, failing issue to Elizabeth. So, 
whilst Lady Lennox was flattered and smiled at, and 
young Darnley stood near the steps of the throne, 
Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox, was allowed in 
August to go back to Scotland with Elizabeth's 
modified blessing to plead for Mary's favour. After 
the Queen of England had given her permission in 
July she took fright and revoked it, in consequence 
of Lady Lennox's imprudent request that she might 
accompany her husband and take Darnley with them. 
This was going too fast and too far for Elizabeth, and 
not without some hesitation did she finally let even 
Lennox alone go. She knew, of course, that Lady 
Lennox had never abandoned the hope of seeing her 
boy married to Mary, and acknowledged as heir to 
both thrones ; and Elizabeth's own now compromis- 


ing dallying with Dudley had made the countess's 
hopes stronger than ever, coinciding as it did with 
Elizabeth's renewed favour to her and her husband. 
But even if Elizabeth ever meant to allow Mary to 
marry Darnley at all, which is doubtful, notwith- 
standing the impression she conveyed to Melville, 
Castelnau, and others, she certainly was not prepared 
in the autumn of 1564 to let Darnley go without a 
hard and fast bond, making him and his parents her 
humble servants if he married the Scottish queen. So 
alarmed was Elizabeth by the suggestion of Lady 
Lennox that she wrote to Mary, as Cecil did to 
Lethington and Murray, intimating that remon- 
strances had been sent from the Scottish friends of 
England against the return of Lennox, as likely to 
lead to discord, and suggesting that the Scottish queen 
herself should forbid the earl's coming. Mary was 
highly indignant at such false dealing as this, which, 
moreover, she was unable to understand, and wrote 
protesting passionately to Elizabeth with her own 
hand. Murray and Lethington also were similarly 
emphatic to Cecil. They could see no objection, they 
said, to Lennox's coming to Scotland ; and since the 
Queen of England herself had requested a favourable 
reception for him, they refused now to be made the 
tools of an underhand policy, and to forbid the earl's 
entrance. Elizabeth, thus driven into a corner, was 
practically obliged to allow Lennox to go, but she did 
so sulkily and distrustfully, highly incensed at Mary's 
choleric letter to her and at Murray's refusal to dance 
obediently to her piping. 

Lennox's reception in Scotland increased her dis- 
trust. The friends of Knox muttered angrily, and 


the Catholics bragged that he would go to Mass with 
the Queen, and that the crown of Scotland would be 
settled upon him to the exclusion of the Hamiltons, 
failing issue to Mary. Lennox arrived at Holyrood 
on the 23rd September ; and had hardly* removed his 
riding-boots when he was received in state by Mary 
and her nobles/ all of whom embraced him ; and 
thenceforward the earl lived in the palace in princely 
fashion, striving to be all things to all men : going to 
* sermon * or to c mass * indifferently, feasting with all 
and sundry, and himself c banquetting the four Maries 
and other delicate dames/ 2 

This was in September, which, it must be recalled, 
was three months before Mary learned that Philip 11. 
had thrown her over, and whilst she was still in the 
belief that Don Carlos was to come to Flanders to 
marry her. The loving welcome extended to Lennox 
by the Queen and her erstwhile Anglophil ministers, 
in despite of Elizabeth, is therefore explained ; since it 
would have been extremely dangerous to have had the 
Stuart claimant to the Scottish succession in England, 
and at Elizabeth's bidding, when the great marriage 
which was to confound all Mary's rivals suddenly 
took place. A kindred desire on the part of Mary 
to disarm Elizabeth's suspicion whilst the great plot 
was carried through prompted her to feign a desire to 
proceed with the negotiations for her marriage with 
Dudley. Randolph, it will be recollected, had gone 
back to England with what was practically a scornful 
refusal from Mary, but with dilatory suggestions that a 
commission of diplomatists should meet on the Borders 

1 The Hamiltons, of course, excluded. 

2 Diary of the Scottish Parliament, Scottish State Papers, 1564. 


and discuss the terms proposed for the union. No 
step to carry out the suggestion had since been made 
by Elizabeth ; but Mary and Murray now found it 
advisable to say that the proposal of Lord Robert 
'was not only well taken, but gently and directly 
answered as could be ' ; and to assure the English 
how willing they were still to discuss the matter by 
commission. The Protestants and others who were 
not in the secret of the Spanish negotiation, such as 
Kirkcaldy of Grange, did not understand it, but the 
latter, writing (19th September) to his friend Randolph, 
could at least see that, however Mary might feign 
compliance, she would never marry Dudley. c There- 
fore look on the next, either among you or us ; or, if 
you drive time, I fear necessity may compel us to 
marry where we may. For I assure you, brother, 
though she would very fain have a man, and for the 
same some labours are made by France, and likewise 
by the Duchess of Arschot (your own Angelo being 
the convoy there), yet, in my opinion, if ye will 
earnestly press it ye may cause us to take Lord 
Darnley.' x 

In pursuance of Mary's plan to allay Elizabeth's 
suspicions, by means of a pretended willingness to 
continue the Dudley negotiations, Sir James Melville 
was sent south with a mission in the third week of 
September (1564). He had been brought up abroad, 
and had passed through London in the spring on his 
way to Scotland, becoming on that occasion very 
friendly with Elizabeth, for whom he brought hints 
of proposals of marriage from Prince Hans Casimir. 
Elizabeth always smiled on men who brought her 

1 Scottish Calendar ) Bain, vol. ii. p. 75. 


offers of marriage which she could safely decline, and 
Melville, with his courtly foreign graces, was the best 
envoy Mary could have chosen for the particular 
mission now intrusted to him. 1 He was to assure the 
Queen of England of his mistress's desire to please 
her in all things, to apologise for Mary's angry letter 
about Lennox, to urge her to appoint commissioners 
to discuss the marriage proposals made to her and 
other pending questions, and to watch closely the 
tendency of the Queen and parliament in the matter 
of recognising Mary's right to the English succession 
in conjunction with her proposed marriage. 

Melville arrived in London late in September 1564, 
a^d before his first interview with the Queen, Mary's 
friend and true sympathiser, Throckmorton, gave 
him subtle advice, which he was not slow to follow. 
If he found Elizabeth hard to deal with, and dis- 
inclined to treat the Scottish queen fairly, Throck- 
morton recommended him to feign intimacy with the 
Spanish ambassador. This proves, at all events, that 
Elizabeth guessed, if she did not know, the quarter 
whence danger might come to her, though really at 
this date, as we have seen by King Philip's letter, the 
danger had already passed. With great ceremony 
Melville was brought into the Queen's presence at 
Whitehall on the day after his arrival, by Hatton and 
Randolph, and attended by a retainer of Dudley. 
Elizabeth was walking in a verdant alley of the 

1 Elizabeth promised him, indeed, that she would make him her inter- 
mediary with Mary to propose the Dudley match, but Melville supposed 
that the influence of the latter caused her only to employ Randolph, her 
resident agent in Scotland. Elizabeth's real motive in speaking of the 
matter to Melville in April 1564. was probably only to familiarise Scotsmen 
with the idea of such a match. (See Melville Memoirs. ) 


garden when the Franco-Scotsman, who had almost 
forgotten his own tongue, knelt and kissed her hand, 
addressing her in French and handing to her Mary's 
letter. He found the Queen still very indignant at 
the tone of his mistress's choleric answer to the 
demand about forbidding the coming of Lennox, and 
Melville skilfully smoothed her ruffled plumes with 
flattery, c Has your mistress sent any answer to the 
proposal made to her through Randolph ? ' asked the 
Queen. * My mistress has thought little or nothing 
thereof,' replied Melville, c but expected the meeting 
of commissioners on the Borders. . . . She will send 
my Lord of Murray and Lethington, and expects that 
your Majesty will send my Lord of Bedford and my 
Lord Robert Dudley.' 'You seem to make very 
small account of my Lord Robert,' snapped Elizabeth, 
4 as you mention the Earl of Bedford before him. 
You will see that I shall make him a far greater earl 
before long ; aye, and before you return home too.' 
Then, continuing, she said that she looked upon 
Robert Dudley as her brother and best friend, whom 
she herself would have married had she ever minded 
to have taken a husband. But since she had made up 
her mind to die a virgin, she desired that the Queen 
of Scots, her sister, might marry him, * as meetest of 
all others.' If Mary married him, there would be no 
danger of any attempt being made to usurp her throne 
before her death. 1 

Elizabeth was as good as her word ; for a day or 
two afterwards, Michaelmas day 1564, Lord Robert 
Dudley knelt before his mistress to be made Baron 
Denbigh and Earl of Leicester, the while she lovingly 

1 Mehfille Memoirs. 



tickled his neck inside his ruff. Perhaps Dudley, in 
his fresh finery and personal triumph, looked hand- 
somer even than usual, for the Queen turned to 
Melville and asked, c How do you like him ? ' 'I 
answered that, as he was a worthy servant, so he was 
happy to have a princess who could discern and 
reward good service/ ... * Yet, says she, you like 
better of yonder long lad, pointing to my Lord 
Darnley, who, as nearest prince of the blood, did bear 
the sword of honour before her that day. My answer 
was, that no woman of spirit would make choice of 
such a man, who more resembled a woman than a 
man ; for he was handsome, beardless, and lady-faced : 
and I had no will that she should think that I liked 
him, or had any eye or dealing that way.' l But he 
had, for Mary had instructed him secretly to urge 
Lady Lennox to obtain permission for her son to join 
his father in Scotland, to see the country and return 
to England with him. It has usually been assumed 
that these instructions of Mary to Melville were 
based upon her wish to marry Darnley at the time 
they were given — the middle of September 1564 — and 
there is no doubt that Lady Lennox and her husband 
were animated by that prospect. I am, however, of a 
different opinion. Mary was still unaware that the 
Spanish match had been vetoed by Philip, and the 
desire to get Darnley to Scotland was probably for the 
same reason that Mary was anxious to keep his father 
there, namely, that the Stuart heirs to her crown might 
not be turned into instruments of attack against her 
by Elizabeth when by a coup- de-main Scotland became 
Spanish and Catholic. What would have been the 

1 MifoiPe Memoirs, 


fate of Lennox and Darnley in Mary's hands in such 
an eventuality is a matter which does not concern us 
here. They were Catholics, and would probably have 
acquiesced in the change, on the acknowledgment of 
their claim to stand before the Hamiltons in the 
Scottish succession, in which case all might have been 
well with them. 

For nine days Melville stayed at court, chatting 
daily with Elizabeth, and trying to persuade her that 
Mary was not absolutely averse from the Leicester 
match, on certain conditions which might be arranged 
as to Mary's right to the heirship of England. Eliza- 
beth was cool on the latter point. She would have 
the laws of succession considered by competent jurists. 
She herself was determined never to marry, € unless 
her sister's harsh behaviour drove her to it.' * Yes, I 
know that, Madam,' said Melville. ' You think that 
if you were married you would be but Queen of 
England: now you are both King and Queen. I 
know your spirit cannot endure a commander.' l But 
when it came to surrendering her beloved Leicester, 
even in effigy, to Mary, the hollowness of the diplo- 
matic pretence stood forth clearly. Showing to 
Melville his portrait and others, carefully wrapped in 
paper and enshrined in a cabinet in her bedchamber, 
whilst the Scotsman held the candle, the Queen was 
asked by Melville to let him carry the earl's miniature 
to his mistress. € You have the t original, Madam,' he 
said ; • let me take her at least the copy : or if not, 
pray send her as a token this great ruby.' * No/ replied 
Elizabeth, * if the Queen will follow my counsel she 
will in time get all I have.' 

1 MehAlU Memoirs. 


And then followed the famous series of manoeuvres 
and intimate conversations, that have so often been 
quoted, in which Elizabeth exerted all her fascination to 
win the flattery of the cautious Scotsman. How she 
dressed every day in the style of a different country, to 
gain from him a compliment for each costume. How 
she showed forth her golden hair for his admiration, and 
urged him to comparisons of her beauty and accom- 
plishments with those of Mary. Whose hair was 
best ? which of them was the fairer ? which played the 
virginal and the lute most perfectly? which was the 
better versed in foreign tongues ? which of the two 
danced most high and disposedly ? and all this with 
infinite wiles and skittish coquetry, intended to convert 
the Scotsman into Elizabeth's slave. 

The day before Melville left London Leicester 
himself took him in hand. In his barge on the river, 
with only his brother-in-law Sir Henry Sidney, the 
new earl, after much flattery, asked the Scotsman 
what the Queen of Scots thought of the suggested 
marriage with him. Melville, as he had been in- 
structed to be, was very curt and cool about it ; and 
Leicester then took an extraordinary course. He 
declared that he had no thought of such a match for 
himself. He was not worthy, he said, to wipe Queen 
Mary's shoes ; and the proposal had not emanated 
from him at all, but trom his secret enemy Cecil, so 
that, if he had jumped at it, he might be made to 
offend both queens and lose their favour. * He 
entreated me to excuse him at her Majesty's hands, 
and to beg in his name that she would not impute that 
matter to him, but to the malice of his enemies.' 1 

1 Mehnlle Memoirs. 


Painter unknown. Owner, the Duke of Devonshire* 
Photo., Hanfttaeagl. 

', .'J I 

1 . • "1 


This no doubt meant that the affair was becoming in 
appearance too real to please Leicester. He was 
willing to serve as a stalking-horse up to a certain 
point, but he was aiming at a higher mark than Mary, 
and at this moment looked like attaining it. He and 
the Queen were just then positively fulsome in their 
approaches to Spain and the Catholics, and to pose at 
the same time as Knox's candidate for Mary's hand 
might spoil his chance of help from that quarter. 
Besides, he knew by experience how vain, fickle, and 
exacting his English mistress was, and he was getting 
fearful that if affairs were allowed to drift much 
further she might become jealous of him for playing 
too well the part she had prescribed to him. So it 
doubtless seemed to him a prudent move to put him- 
self out of the serious running for Mary, before she 
proceeded further in the matter. But his strange 
course did not in appearance have this effect, and it 
admirably served Mary's interests, because thence- 
forward she was able with a light heart to appear to 
acquiesce in Elizabeth's plans for her marriage with 
Leicester, whilst she was pursuing her own policy and 
seeking to forward the Spanish negotiations. 

Melville carried back to Scotland the usual bland 
professions of Elizabeth's friendship, but nothing 
definite about the succession ; the only real step in 
advance being the promise of Elizabeth to send 
Bedford and Randolph to discuss matters with Murray 
and Lethington on the Border ; but Melville warned 
his mistress that the Queen of England was playing 
false. ' There was,' he said, l neither plain dealing 
nor upright meaning, but great dissimulation, emula- 
tion, and fear.' Elizabeth, he reminded Mary, had 


been able to hinder the marriage of the latter with the 
Archduke, and her offer of Leicester, c whom she 
could not spare/ was only a feint. From the English 
Catholics, from Lady Lennox, and from the Spanish 
ambassador, Melville, however, bore to his Queen 
messages of a more comforting character ; and Mary 
herself evidently regarded as the principal result of his 
mission her nominal reconciliation with Elizabeth, as 
enabling her ' to get intelligence of a great number of 
noblemen and others, her friends, in England/ 

Thus in complete dissimulation on both sides the 
joint-commissioners met on the Border secretly in the 
middle of November, 1 Bedford and Randolph were 
instructed to mention only Leicester's name ; but, if 
the question of the succession as g, condition of the 
marriage was brought forward by the Scots, vague 
generalities alone were to be held out. 2 Both sides 
feigned to treat the proposal seriously, for both 
were playing their own respective games, and both 
desired delay : Mary in order to carry through her 
Spanish plan, and Elizabeth in order to delay or pre- 
vent Mary's marriage to any one until the dangerous 

1 The Queen was to visit Dunbar, and Murray and Lethington were to 
go hawking over their estates. Bedford was then to send a message to 
diem asking them to meet him at Berwick to settle some Border questions. 

> In one of Elizabeth's intimate confabulations with Melville she ban- 
tered him upon the way in which the Scots were for ever pestering about the 
succession. Lethington, she said, was the worst of them, for he ' dyd ringe 
all wayes her knele (knell) in her cares, tawlkynge of nothynge but her 
succession.* Elizabeth had a shorter way than bantering, when her own 
subjects ventured too far on the same subject. Cecil wrote a long letter to 
Murray and Lethington (16th December 1564. Scottish Calendar, Bain, 
vol. ii.), gravely complaining of their insistence in the conference that a 
recognition to Mary's claims in England should be a condition of her mar- 
riage with Leicester, whom Cecil praises to the skies as a perfect character, 
better than many princes. Murray's and Lethington 's reply was equally 
specious and lacking in sincerity, though both sides continually urged the 
other to plain dealing. 


suitors were disposed of, and to distract her counsels in 
the meantime. When Randolph had first returned to 
Edinburgh in October, Murray and Lethington showed 
somewhat less caution than usual, and quarrelled with 
the English envoy about their mistress's divine right 
to the English crown, and the unanimous support 
her claim enjoyed from the English Catholics l ; but 
diplomacy soon reasserted itself, and smooth words 
were resumed, Mary herself using every effort to 
disarm suspicion, by amiable excuses and palliations of 
Elizabeth's complaints, and by coy inquiries about 
Lord Leicester. Randolph, indeed, quite believed that 
Mary would consent to the marriage proposed if she 
were assured that her English claims would be inquired 
into, * with all favour/ 

In the meanwhile Lennox, now restored to his 
estates, was ruffling bravely at Holyrood, spending 
great sums of money, in order to gain friends against 
the Hamiltons, who were watching him sulkily, and 
dreading the idea of a possible plan to marry his son 
to the Queen. The ready apparent acceptance by 
Mary of the idea of a marriage with Leicester, of 
which she had learned the falsity from Melville, was, 
however, somewhat puzzling and disturbing to the 
English queen, who thought it was time to effect a 
diversion before matters were carried too far, and 
this revival of the talk of Darnley's suit seemed a 
good opportunity for effecting her purpose. Mary 
had no more intention at this time of marrying 
Darnley than she had of marrying Leicester, but 
she was anxious to have him in Scotland with his 

1 A Catholic named Welch came to see Mary in October, with assurances 
that all those of his faith in England were in her favour {Scottish Calendar). 


father for the reasons already explained ; and Lennox 
was prompted to write to Elizabeth that Darnley's 
presence in Scotland was necessary for a short time, 
in order that his right to the entail of his estates 
should be recognised. In answer to the prayer of 
Lady Lennox that her son might be allowed to go, 
Elizabeth at first consented with alacrity ; for this 
was at the very time when Randolph's hopeful letters 
about the Leicester match were arriving in London. 
But Lady Lennox was fond of intrigue, and was seen 
to be flitting backwards and forwards to the Spanish 
ambassador and the disaffected group of Catholic 
nobles who were jealous of Cecil and the new men, 
and the Queen withdrew her licence for Darnley's 
journey as soon as it was given, stricken with fear 
that a trap had been laid for her, and that she might, 
when least she expected it, find Darnley and Mary 
married and acclaimed by the English Catholics as the 
heirs, if not the rightful possessors of the crown. So 
the downy-cheeked young gallant was perforce obliged 
to stay for some time longer within sight of the keen 
eyes of Elizabeth. 

Mary grew more and more anxious as time went 
on for an answer about the Spanish match that she 
so ardently desired. When Philip had written to 
his ambassador, Guzman, in August that the proposal 
must be considered at an end, he had not instructed 
him to convey this to Mary ; and Guzman, of course, 
had not done so. The Duchess of Arschot's unofficial 
intimation, moreover, cannot have reached her before 
the very end of the year 1564. But the Queen of 
Scots could not be blind to the fact that her Guise 
kinsmen were hand-in-glove with Philip, and that they 


' would not now raise a hand to forward her marriage 
with a Spanish prince, even if Philip was willing to 
fly in the face of his French allies by proposing it 
How bitterly she resented Cardinal Lorraine's selfish 
diplomacy is seen by her remark concerning him in 
November, when she received a letter from him, 
recommending her to marry the Protestant Prince 
of Conde, with whom peace had recently been made. 
Lorraine excused his instability in recommending so 
strange a husband for his niece by saying that he was 
in great danger from the Protestants unless she did 
as he wished. * Truly I am beholden to my uncle/ 
ironically exclaimed Mary ; ' so that it be well with 
him, he careth not what becometh of me/ 1 

So, whilst she and Murray still continued to profess 
a leaning towards Leicester, Mary endeavoured to 
hasten matters with Spain. John Beaton, the brother 
of the Archbishop of Glasgow, Mary's ambassador in 
France, had been sent in November to Scotland ; and 
on his return through England in the following month 
he was secretly instructed by Mary to sound Guzman 
in London, for whom he had a letter from the Spanish 
ambassador in Paris. l How go affairs in Scotland ? ' 
asked Guzman. 'Well,' replied Beaton, 'only that 
my mistress doth not marry.' This was delicate 
ground, and Guzman made no reply which might give 
Beaton an opening ; so the Scotsman sought out that 
Luis de Paz, who had been sent to Scotland by the 
dying Spanish bishop Quadra a year before to tell the 
Queen that Philip had sent a message for her. To 
this man at the dead of night Beaton spoke, and asked 
him (14th December) if there was any answer from 

1 Scottish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 94. 


Spain yet about the business he had dealt with in 
Scotland. Guzman the ambassador himself was in 
doubt as to Philip's present intentions, for many 
things had changed since the King wrote his auto- 
graph note of August putting an end to the Spanish 
match. Elizabeth's expressed desire to get married 
especially ; and the busy negotiations now going on for 
her union with a French prince, farcical as they were, 
seemed to demand the usual counter-move on the part 
of Spain ; so in his desire to leave his master an open 
course still, Guzman in his answer to Beaton's inquiry 
through de Paz refrained from dashing Mary's hopes, 
and pretended to have received no instructions. 1 

In Scotland the Leicester match grew apparently 
more and more in favour. c No men in England wish 
more than they (Murray and Lethington) that the 
Queen's Majesty's desire of a marriage between this 
Queen and Lord Robert take sooner effect/ wrote 
Randolph to Cecil on the 14th December. ' No man 
is more acceptable than shall be my Lord Robert. 
More was thought of Darnley before his father's 
coming than at present. The father is now here and 
well known, the mother more feared than beloved by 
those that know her. ... To think that my Lord 
Darnley should marry this Queen, and his mother 
bear that stroke with her that she bore with Queen 
Mary . . . would alienate as many minds from my 
sovereign by sending a plague to this country as she . . . 
drave out of the same when the French were forced 
to retire, that daily sat on their (the Scots') necks with 
knives ready to cut their throats. . . . One thing is 
assuredly known ; that Lord Darnley 's father told 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 399. 


Mr. John Leslie, Lord of Sessions, that his son 
should marry the Queen. Yet I know, by that which 
hath been spoken of her own mouth, both of him and 
his mother, that it shall never take effect, if other- 
wise she may have her desire.* 1 This letter, written 
in December, was probably the principal factor in 
deciding Elizabeth finally to let Darnley go, which 
she did soon after its receipt, at the earnest request 
both of Leicester and Cecil ; the former because he 
was anxious to create a diversion from his own 
marriage with Mary, and the latter because, like his 
mistress, he wished to embroil her and to prevent her 
from marrying any one as long as possible ; and they 
thought Darnley might easily be recalled if his chances 
began to look too favourable. 2 

Mary learned from the Duchess of Arschot in the 
last days of 1564 that Philip had vetoed the marriage 
with Don Carlos, and heavy as was the blow to her 
plans, the Queen of Scots lost no time in changing 
her tack, in accordance with the new conditions thus 
created. She had put aside, politely but firmly, as we 
have seen, the proposal brought to her by Castelnau 
two months before for a marriage with young Anjou, 
her brother-in-law ; but immediately after the arrival 
of the Duchess of Arschot's letter, Randolph was 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 99. Randolph throughout appears 
to have believed in the sincerity of the Leicester negotiation, of whicn we 
now know the falsity. On one occasion, at least, it is evident by his letters 
that Leicester had angrily rebuked him for his over-earnestness in the 
matter, much to Randolph's surprise. 

* It must not be forgotten that Lennox and his wife enjoyed great 
estates and revenues granted to them in England by Henry vm. With 
the power to confiscate them in Elizabeth's hands, the latter thought she 
held a pledge for the obedience of the Lennoxes as a last resource, as the 
Scottish estates, now restored to them, though very extensive, were nothing 
like so valuable as those in England. 


surprised at the constant posting backwards and for- 
wards of messengers to France. It was even said that 
Lethington himself was to go thither, and Elizabeth 
at once began to grow alarmed, especially when Cecil's 
spies reported that the Lennoxes had agreed with 
Mary to call in French armed help and restore the 
Catholic religion, they being acknowledged heirs to 
Scotland before the Hamiltons. Considering how 
really alarmed the English were at this sudden 
apparent friendship with the French, it is somewhat 
amusing to see, by Mary's own letter of 28 th January 
1565 to her ambassador in Paris, 1 that the whole 
business was simply a diplomatic ruse. He was to 
pretend to have most urgent business with the Queen- 
Mother, with whom he was to demand frequent 
audiences; to write pressing letters about nothing in 
particular to Cardinal Lorraine ; and to do all he 
possibly could to make the English ambassador 
believe that negotiations of importance were in pro- 
gress. All this was, of course, for the purpose of 
frightening Elizabeth into some important concession 
in regard to Mary's English claims; and when 
Randolph was sent by Elizabeth's orders to see the 
Scottish queen, who was then at St, Andrews, and 
to demand an answer to the points of the Leicester 
match left for decision by the hollow conference at 
Berwick a few weeks previously, Mary, determined 
to alarm Elizabeth, opened her batteries personally 
and played her part to perfection. 

Randolph arrived at St. Andrews in the first days of 
February 1565 to deliver his mistress's letter to the 
Scottish queen. The latter smiled when she read it, 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. p. 250. 


but said nothing ; and when on the next day the envoy 
tried to get a reply, she refused point-blank to do 
anything but make merry. She was staying with a 
very small train at a merchant's house in the town. 
Randolph must dine and sup with her, and must join 
her often in drinking Elizabeth's health ; but no 
business would she listen to. On the fourth day Ran- 
dolph had had enough of this, and seriously demanded 
an answer to Leicester's proposal. * I had no sooner 
spoken . . . but she said, I see now well you are 
weary of this company and treatment. I sent for you 
to be merry, and to see how like a burgess's wife I 
live with my little troop ; and you will interrupt our 
pastimes with your grave matters. I pray you, Sir, if 
you be weary here, return to Edinburgh, and keep 
your gravity and great embassade until the Queen 
come thither : for, I assure you, you shall not get 
her here, nor I know not myself where she is become. 
You see neither cloth of state nor such appearance that 
you may think there is a Queen here, nor would I that 
you should think I am she at St. Andrews that I 
was at Edinburgh.' She rallied the poor man in this 
way until he was completely puzzled ; but at dinner 
next day, though she was very merry, and afterwards 
when he accompanied her riding, he noticed that, gay 
as her prattle was, * she talked to me most of the time 
of France.' How she loved the country, of which her 
first husband had been king, and where her people 
possessed privileges denied to others : how anxious the 
French were for her to marry a French prince, and 
much more to the same effect, she impressed upon 
Elizabeth's agent. * To leave such friends and to lose 
such offers as they make without assurance of as good, 


nobody will advise that loveth me.' She could not, 
she said, long defer her marriage, but complained that 
she could get no definite pledge from Elizabeth. She 
could not be bound to her for nothing. She was 
willing to treat her as a daughter or a sister should, 
but there must be some reciprocity, or she must turn 
to her French friends, though she would prefer to 
follow Elizabeth's advice alone. ' Remember/ she con- 
tinued, ' what I have said cometh not upon a sudden. 
It is more than a day or two that I have had this 
thought, and more than this that ye shall not know.' 
' Oh 1 ' exclaimed Randolph, ' do not cut your talk 
short here ; it is so good and wise, well framed and 
comfortable to me/ * I am a fool/ she replied, c thus 
to talk with you ; you are too subtle for me.' By 
and by Randolph came to the point again with a 
leading question. 'How did she like Lord Leicester's 
suit ? ' l My mind towards him is such/ she said, ' as 
it ought to be of a very noble man, as I hear say he 
is by very many ; and such a one as the Queen, my 
good sister, doth so well like to be her husband, if he 
were not her subject, ought not to mislike me to be 
mine. But marry ! what I shall do, it lyeth in your 
mistress's will, who shall wholly guide and rule me.' l 
Randolph, try as he would, could get no further than 
this ; and it meant, as plainly as diplomacy could speak, 
that the recognition of Mary's right of succession to the 
English crown must precede her acceptance of Eliza- 
beth's advice as to her marriage. Whether after such 
recognition or its promise she would have been willing 
to marry Leicester, or he to marry her, is another 
matter. The two queens, in fact, were playing a con- 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 122. 


fide nee trick, in which neither of them would make 
the first deposit. 

This was the condition of affairs when young 
Darnley crossed the Border on the nth February 
1565, to Randolph's utter consternation and bewilder- 
ment, openly displayed in his letters. The good man 
in all^sincerity had been pushing the Leicester suit 
with the utmost zeal, though the earl's irritation in 
his letters to him had greatly perplexed him ; and 
that this youth, whose father was already suspected of 
anti-English and Catholic plans, should be allowed to 
come and spoil a negotiation that seemed prospering, 
he could not understand at all. ' How to frame or 
fashion this . . . truly I know not ; yet what to think 
or how to behave myself.' So little was Darnley 
expected by Scotsmen that many thought the new- 
comer must really be Leicester, The Hamiltons, the 
Campbells, the Scotts, the Beatons, the Douglases, the 
Cunninghames, and many others were alarmed, some 
for religion and some from ancient feuds, at the bare 
possibility of the marriage of Mary with her cousin ; 
but Randolph scouted such an idea as out of the 
question, for he still believed fervently in the success 
of the Leicester marriage, and his objection to Darnley 
was mainly religious. Both he and those friends of 
the English party whom he could advise, however, 
received the newcomer with great courtesy. Morton 
and Glencairn, both enemies of Lennox, welcomed 
him as cordially as they could ; and Murray's brother 
Robert entertained him at Holyrood in the Queen's 
absence, whilst Randolph lent him horses ; when, after 
awaiting his father's 1 instructions for three days in 

1 Lennox was at his house of Dunkeld at the time. 


Edinburgh, the youth proceeded to Wemyss in Fife 
to salute Queen Mary, whom, of course, he had never 

Henry Stuart, by courtesy Lord Darnley, was now 
in his nineteenth year, and eleven years older than his 
only brother Charles Stuart. He had been carefully 
reared in the usual courtly accomplishments of his 
time, such as dancing, music, riding, and the use of 
arms, and as we have seen by Melville's description of 
him, was of tall stature, with the youthful attractions 
of a fair, smooth face and a graceful bearing. His flat, 
lymphatic countenance, with its pointed chin and eyes 
hfleur de tete, indicates small powers of reflection and 
little strength of purpose ; but the brow is broad, the 
perceptive faculties good, and the general expression, 
though irresponsible, is observant and not unpleasing. 
Under good tutelage and wise control a youth pos- 
sessing such a face might well develop into an easy- 
going, lethargic, self-indulgent citizen, watchful of his 
own immediate interests, though lacking the moral 
energy to pursue them with persistence. But Henry 
Stuart, though carefully taught, so far as accomplish- 
ments and graces were concerned, had been unwisely 
reared. Brought up by his mother, practically as an 
only son, he had never been allowed to forget that 
he stood within the shadow of the throne as the first 
prince of the blood royal, by right of birth, whatever 
King Henry's eccentric will might say. That he, a 
member of the sacred royal caste, was allowed privi- 
leges and immunities that other young nobles were 
denied, that a turn of fortune's wheel might at any 
moment draw him from obscurity into the fullest 
light, was ever before him ; and, as was natural in a 


lad of his weak sense of moral responsibility, had 
made him arrogant, petulant, and self-willed, impatient 
of reproof, and yet without stability or rectitude. 

The first impression he made in Scotland was a 
good one. c His courteous dealing with all men de- 
serves 'great praise and is well spoken of/ 'Many 
resorted to him here, Edinburgh ; they liked well 
his personage — for his other qualities time has not 
served. A great number wish him well, others doubt 
him, and deeplier consider what is fit for the state of 
their country than, as they call him, a fair jolly young 
man.' But as for Randolph himself, he utterly dis- 
believed that the coming of Darnley could really 
upset, though it might impede, the negotiation for 
the Leicester match, which he innocently prided him- 
self he had brought within measurable distance of 
celebration. When Darnley received his father's 
instructions he at once set out on his borrowed 
horses to salute the Queen at the castle of the Laird 
of Wemyss, where she was staying. x 

He first saw Mary on the 17th February. 'He 
was/ we are told, c well received, and lodged in the 
same house/ He only stayed there for a day or so 
before riding to Dunkeld to join his father ; but it 
was long enough for the Queen to notice, as others 
had done, at first sight his attractive points. Melville, 
who was deep in Mary's confidence, says : c Her 
Majesty took very well with him, and said that he 
was the properest and best proportioned long man 
that ever she had seen/ After visiting his father 
Darnley rode back in time to enter Edinburgh with 
the Queen and court a week later. The next day, 

1 Her apartments at Wemyss are still preserved. 


Sunday, he dined with Murray, and on Monday heard 
Knox preach. 1 Everybody was charmed with him, 
for he was evidently on his best behaviour, and was 
prompt to please those whom he approached. After 
supper at Holyrood on Monday, he stood watching 
Mary and her ladies dance, and was challenged by 
Murray to dance with the Queen. Nothing loth, the 
tall stripling stood forth and stepped a galliarde with 
Mary, who, we are assured, notwithstanding her long 
recent journey through the bitterest winter known 
for many years, ' looked lustier than when she went 

Up to this period we have seen Mary playing her 
game with perfect self-command. She was pleasure- 
loving, light-hearted, and determined to enjoy life to 
its utmost ; but she had so far curbed her inclinations 
whenever they ran counter to the success of her aims. 
The kernel of her policy from the first had been the 
establishment of her prospective or present right to 
rule England, as well as Scotland, and to restore Great 
Britain to the Catholic Church. There were two ways 
by which this might be effected : first, by her marriage 
with a Catholic prince strong enough to enforce her 
claims in conjunction with the Catholic party in Eng- 
land ; and second, by a transaction with Elizabeth, in 
"which Mary's marriage with an English nominee should 
be paid for by her formal recognition by Queen and 
parliament as Elizabeth's heir. So long as Francis 11. 
lived Mary had worked in the first direction ; but 
when she came as a widow to Scotland it was with the 
intention of adopting the second course, under the j 
guidance of her Anglophil ministers, Murray and | 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 128. | 


Painter unknown. Owner, the Duke of Devonshire. 
Photo., Hanfstaengl. 


Lethington. We have seen how, despairing of ob- 
taining definite pledges from Elizabeth, Mary had in 
1563 reverted to the first plan, and had attempted 
to arrange her marriage with Don Carlos, from which 
Elizabeth's double-dealing intrigue about the Leicester 
match had never moved her ; and she had carried on 
the negotiations with Randolph in a similar spirit, 
knowing they were false. 

When Darnley arrived in Scotland Mary knew, 
though unofficially, that the Spanish match was ' off' ; 
but it was obvious that whilst she remained unmarried 
anything was possible ; and her best interests were 
involved in delaying indefinitely any decision, except 
the one that would ensure the success of her aims, one 
way or the other. It was quite evident that marriage 
with Darnley would not do this, unless it were effected 
as part of a transaction with Elizabeth, and with the 
support of the Scottish Protestants as well as the 
Catholics. The only advantage which such a union 
could bring to Mary otherwise was the co-operation of 
the two Catholic claimants for the crown of England in 
case of Elizabeth's death, and the united support of 
the English Catholic nobles ; whilst against this latter 
advantage were to be balanced the discords and old 
feuds aroused in Scotland itself by the restoration and 
elevation of the Lennox Stuarts. It was, therefore, 
Mary's wisest course to avoid an alliance until she 
could make an advantageous bargain for herself with 
one interest or the other, which in changeful times she 
might always hope to do so long as she remained 
unfettered. It was on this occasion, the crucial point 
of her career, that Mary's amorous passion first over- 
rode her diplomacy. 


There were, of course, reasons that could be alleged 
that made the marriage with Darnley appear plausible, 
or indeed necessary, such as those recited by Mary 
herself afterwards : her betrayal by Cardinal Lorraine 
and the consequent failure of the Spanish match, her 
jealousy of Murray's ambition, and others ; but these 
reasons, though they may excuse the selection of 
Darnley rather than another, do not establish, from 
the purely diplomatic point of view, the inevitable need 
for Mary to have taken a husband at all when she did. 
We are, then, driven to the logical conclusion that she 
did so to satisfy her own fancy, which for the time was 
strong enough to postpone her political interests. 

The first doubtful note of alarm about Darnley 
seems to have come from watchful Murray. There 
was much talk in Edinburgh still of Cardinal Lor- 
raine's wish to marry his niece, either to her brother-in- 
law Charles ix. or to young Anjou ; though Randolph 
was quite convinced that Mary would end by follow- 
ing the Queen of England's advice, and marry at her 
bidding 1 Leicester or another. But ten days after 
Darnley's first sight of the queen Murray dined with 
the English envoy, and warned him seriously that 
Elizabeth must promptly agree to acknowledge Mary 
as her heir, or she would find that the prize of 
Scotland had slipped through her fingers. Neither 
Mary, he said, nor her advisers, could afford to c do 
all for nought, and neglect the counsel of her friends.' 
Randolph replied by some fulsome praise of Leicester 
and an exaggerated estimation of the great sacrifices he 
would make if he came to Scotland as the Queen's 
husband, leaving honour, riches, and great hopes in 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 130, 1st March 1565. 


England for so doubtful an advantage as a marriage 
with Mary would bring him. Yes, Murray replied 
in effect, Leicester is all very well, and at least we 
know all about him and his good qualities. But if he 
come not promptly with conditions acceptable to 
Mary and the Scots, we shall have another less to our 
liking : * for thother yt is uncertayne, and yf yt fell 
tomorrowe I trowe that yt woulde breede us more 
trouble than commodity, and no less sorrow to our 
mistress than to yourselves/ l The Laird of Pitarrow, 
who sat at the table, stern Protestant that he was, 
pleaded for straightforward dealing. Leicester would 
lose nothing by coming and marrying the Queen of 
Scots, and his danger in doing so would be less than 
in marrying Elizabeth. Let him seize the oppor- 
tunity promptly, and let fair conditions be granted, 
in return, to Mary. Above all, in Heaven's name, let 
us be quick about it, or we shall find our Queen with 
a papist husband. 'Remember/ he said, 'howe 
earnestye she is soughte otherwyse. You know her 
years ; you see the lustyness of her boddie, you know 
what these thynges requere — yt ys all our partes to 
farther yt — losse of her time is our destruction, and yt 
is our parte to be most carefull for that which we 
know to be fittest and most assured for her estate/ 
Leicester, heboid Randolph, was the man desired by 
Protestants in Scotland, but pray let no time be lost, 
or things would end badly. Then Murray put in a 
piteous word on his own behoof. Every one knew, he 
said, how he had striven to forward Elizabeth's plans 
for his sister's marriage, and if the English match 
should fall through after all it would be his ruin. 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 130, 1st March 1565. 


* Yf she marrye any other, what mind will he bear me 
that knoweth how much I do myslike therewith ? If 
he be a papist, either we must obeye or fawle into 
fresh cumbers,, and /ever be thought the ringleader.' 
What was the use, he asked indignantly, of talking 
any more in this strain. He had said it all a hundred 
times before, but he saw nothing but drift and delay 
from day to day. When he left the dining-chamber 
he whispered in Randolph's ear an impassioned appeal 
that Elizabeth would save Scotland from « papystrie/ 
1 for otherwise it will be worst with us than ever it 
was/ He had good hopes, he said, of Mary now, 
for she was offended with the French Queen-Mother 
and with her uncle Lorraine. Her French physician, 
a Guisan spy, thank God, was leaving Scotland, and 
she has no other Frenchman of standing about her. 
Raulet the French secretary had been dismissed, on 
suspicion of betraying secrets to the English. 'An 
Italian Piedmontese, a singer that came with M. 
Moret, is her secretary for French affairs,' and he had 
only crept in when Raulet was suspected. 1 

From Murray's talk in this interview it is clear 
that he was vehemently uneasy, and desirous of pre- 
cipitating the Leicester match in conjunction with 
the recognition of Mary's claims in England. Of 
whom was he distrustful ? Who was c thother ' that 
he dreaded so much ? Not a French candidate, evi- 
dently, for Mary was on ill terms with Catharine and 

1 This was Rizzio, who had succeeded Raulet about three weeks pre- 
viously. As the dismissal and disgrace of Raulet coincided with that of 
the Florentine messenger Angelo Menaglio, and with the failure of the 
negotiations with Flanders for the Spanish match, of which they were the 
instruments, it is probable that their dismissal was connected either with a 
suspicion that they had mismanaged the communications or had not been 
sufficiently reticent about them. 


the Cardinal, notwithstanding the gossip of the 
Market-place about French suitors. Not a Spaniard, 
for Murray must have known that Philip had refused 
the match for his son. There was indeed at the 
moment no c thother ' but the willowy, flat-faced youth 
with the pointed chin, upon whom Mary's eyes had 
rested with desire. 

Three days after the interview just related — three 
days of heavy snow which blocked the roads — Murray 
gave a great banquet at Holyrood, at which all the 
gentlemen and ladies of the court were present, 
Darnley of course included. At the height of the 
jollity the Queen sent word to the feasters that she 
wished she was of the company, and was sorry she was 
not invited. ' It was answered merrily that the house 
was her own, she might come unbidden : others said 
they were merriest when the table was fullest, but 
princes ever used to dine alone ' ; and Mary thereupon 
invited all the company to feast with her on the 
following Sunday (4th March), when 'the lusty 
Englishman,* Semple, was to marry Mary Livingston, 
one of the famous four. After Murray's banquet the 
guests adjourned to the Queen's chamber, and there 
again Mary and Randolph discoursed interminably 
upon the inevitable subject. She was as gracious as 
usual. She would do all that was consistent with her 
honour to please Elizabeth in everything. Then after 
some bantering about her religion Randolph suddenly 
asked her, what about her marriage. ' I am willing 
enough,' she replied. * I pray God that your choice 
may be good,' ventured the envoy. 'He must be 
such a one as He will give me,' said Mary. Randolph 
hinted, in answer to this, that God had made a • fayre 


offer to her ' in Leicester. c Of thys matter, sayeth 
she, I have saide inoughe, except that I sawe greater 
lykelyhood. Nor maye I applye and sette my mynde 
but where I intende to be a wyfe indeed- And in 
good faith no creature lyvinge shall make me breake 
more of my will than the Queen, my good syster, 
yf she will use me as a syster — if not I must do as I 

Notwithstanding all these hints, and others no less 
strong from Argyle, 1 Randolph still clung to his belief 
in the final success of the Leicester match, and in 
Mary's submission to Elizabeth's will. In vain jealous 
Protestants pointed out that Darnley was over fre- 
quently in the Queen's company, that Mary was gay, 
bright, and happy when he was with her, and that her 
eyes followed him as he moved. It was merely 
natural courtesy, opined Randolph, who had probably 
forgotten what it was like to be in love. When on 
the 1 6th March he handed to Mary another of 
Elizabeth's procrastinating, enigmatical letters about 
the succession, instead of the positive pledge that had 
been so long expected, Mary showed her discontent 
plainly. c She wept her fill afterwards/ he was told ; 
but to him she began, as usual, to talk about sending 
Lethington to France, and rumours pervaded the 
court at once that a message had reached her from 
Cardinals Lorraine and Granvelle not to be over hasty 
in concluding any matter in England. 

This was quite in accordance with the usual diplo- 

1 On the 15th March he writes that 'Argyle says plainly that he 
mislikes Darnley 's coming ; for he says that the affections of women are 
uncertain. . . • For myself I see no great goodwill borne him (Darnley). 
Of her Grace's good usage and often talk to him, her countenance and 
good visage, I think it proceeds rather of her own courteous nature than 
that anything is meant which some here fear may ensue. 1 


macy, but Lethington and Murray, who were keener 
men of the world than Randolph, saw that Mary's 
fancy for Darnley, if it grew much stronger, would 
make the old diplomatic methods powerless to serve 
her, and they vehemently protested against any further 
procrastination on the part of the English queen. 
Murray was c the sorrowfullest man that may be/ and 
the Scottish nobles who had always supported the 
English connection were in dismay. 'Some for re- 
ligion, some for fear of overthrow of their houses, 
some for doubt of her marriage with a papist, and I 
never found in my life so many discontented people 
here/ 1 

And so, swiftly and silently, the stream of events 
swept Mary Stuart towards the cataract that was to 
wreck her life. Elizabeth and Cecil thought they held 
all the sluice-gates in their hands ; that the Lennoxes 
would not dare to risk the confiscation of their great 
English estates, and sacrifice the hopes of Elizabeth's 
recognition of their heirship to the crown by allowing 
Darnley to marry Mary. The Queen of England and 
her minister, like their envoy in Scotland, were con- 
fident that they could in the end always divert her 
from a French or Spanish marriage, by the usual 
expedient that had never failed yet; and that in the 
utter distraction which they knew their fast and loose 
policy would bring upon Scotland, Mary would be 
driven to submit to Elizabeth's will unreservedly, 
either with or without an undignified marriage; the 
result, in any case, being to reduce Mary and her 
realm to a negligible quantity as an international 
factor. If the ordinary diplomatic game alone was 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 17th March 1565 {Scottish Calendar, vol. ii.). 


to be played, Elizabeth and Cecil would have been 
justified in their anticipation of events ; but they did 
not know until it was too late, and their agent in 
Scotland, cunning as he was, had not enough human 
nature in him to perceive it for them, that a new 
element was to be introduced into the contest, against 
which their ordinary chicane was powerless — the 
element of the uncontrollable, if transient, passion of 
an ardent young woman for a particular man. 



Mary's fancy for Darnley does not blind her to her political object — 
She resolves to make a last bid to Spain— Fowler sent to London 
— His interviews with the Spanish ambassador — Carries back a vague 
answer to Scotland — Alarm of Murray, and the Protestants — Scandal- 
ous reports about Mary — Lethington goes to London — His intrigues 
and those of Lady Lennox with the Spaniards and the Catholics — 
Lady Lennox arrested — Don Carlos finally refused to Mary — Lething- 
ton asks for Spanish support for Mary and Darnley — Alarm of 
Elizabeth — English and Protestant intrigue active in Scotland — The 
breach between Mary and her people widens — Her gaiety and im- 
prudence — The rise of Rizzio — Murray refuses his consent to the 
Darnley marriage — Lethington's dissimulation — Throckmorton in 
Scotland — Darnley' s foolish behaviour — Mary's love attributed to 
witchcraft — Counterplots against Darnley and Murray — Balmerino 
sent to London — Takes back to Mary the joyous message, pledging 
Spain to aid her and Darnley — Mary's secret marriage immediately 
on his arrival — Scandal caused thereby — The public marriage — Love 
and diplomacy reconciled. 

It is possible to conjecture with some degree of con- 
fidence the approximate period when Mary first 
allowed herself to regard Darnley as an acceptable 
husband for her. She first saw him on the 17th 
February 1565, and expressed her approval of his 
personal appearance on that occasion. On the 27th 
of the same month Murray gave his strong hint 
to Randolph about 'thother' dangerous rival to 
Leicester ; and the following day Lethington wrote 

a private letter to Cecil couched in the cryptic style 



which he, like Elizabeth, affected, conveying to those 
who hold the key a still stronger hint. Cecil had been 
ill, and Lethington presumes the cause to be over- 
work. His remedy is one that, he says, he never fails 
to take himself ; namely, always to enjoy at least one 
merry hour out of the twenty-four. c Marry I you 
may perhaps reply, that as now the world doth go 
with me, my body is better disposed to digest such 
than yours is — for those that be in love are ever set 
upon a merry pin/ On the ioth March Lennox 
must probably have recognised that his son's suit was 
smiled upon by the Queen ; for on that date he wrote 
a friendly letter to Cecil, begging him to ask the 
Queen of England to extend his licence to stay in 
Scotland for three months longer, * as I cannot proceed 
so soon as I thought in the assurance of my lands to 
my son ... for if I despatch not the matter whilst 
my son is here his coming were in vain/ ' My greatest 
care/ he says, * is not to offend her Majesty ; but I 
trust by my lord of Leicester's good help and yours 
she will be satisfied therein ' ; and Lennox concludes 
by asking permission for Darnley to import three 
or four geldings for presents. 1 It is difficult to 
believe that this excuse of Lennox for his longer stay 
in Scotland was the true one ; because, not only by the 
hints of Murray and others several days before do we 
know that Darnley had found favour in Mary's sight, 
but a few days only after the arrival of Lennox's letter 
in London, Lady Lennox sent word to the Spanish 
ambassador to tell him how kind the Queen of Scot- 
land had been to her son, and to bid for the support 
of Spain — rather than that of France, which she said 

1 Scottish Calendar y Bain, vol. ii. 


had been offered to her — for the marriage of Mary 
and Darnley. 

The Lennox ms. papers, drawn up for the use 
of Lennox himself, assert that 'the Queen was 
stricken by the dart of love, by the comeliness of 
his (Darnley *s) sweet behaviour, personage, wit, and 
virtuous qualities . . ., as also in the art of music, 
dancing, and playing/ 1 As all these qualities must 
have been in evidence within the first few days of 
Darnley's residence in the Scottish court, it is probable 
that Mary had been sufficiently smitten with him to 
make her willing to take him for a consort between 
the 24th February, when he entered Edinburgh with 
her, and the 10th March, when Lennox's courier left 
for London. 

But, withal, Mary, thanks probably to Lethington's 
advice, did not act rashly at first. This was the most 
difficult juncture in which she had found herself. 
Elizabeth's last letter to her had finally convinced 
both her and her chief advisers that by diplomatic 
cajolery alone she could never wring from the Queen 
of England her recognition as next heir to the crown. 2 
The only other way to obtain it, as has already been 
pointed out, was by force or fear. For months Mary 
had watched eagerly for some definite reply from 
Spain. Beyond the unofficial letter from the Duchess 
of Arschot in Flanders received in the last days of the 

1 Castelnau dc la Mauvissiere, who was present, also gives the idea of 
the suddenness of Mary's caprice for Darnley, by saying that many people 
attributed it to * artificial enchantments/ 

9 The letter handed to her by Randolph on the 16th March, and the 
verbal message that accompanied it, informed Mary definitely that the 
English queen could not allow the claims of Mary to the succession to 
be considered or published, c until we were either married or had fully 
determined never to many/ 


year, and the non-committal answer given by Guzman 
in London to John Beaton on the 14th December, 
she had heard nothing since she had been assured that 
Don Carlos was coming to Flanders to marry her. 
But however hopeful she might be, it must have been 
evident to her now that her dream of the great 
Spanish match was at least problematical of realisa- 
tion. Catharine de Medici at this period, for the 
purpose of disarming Elizabeth and at the same time 
diverting her from the Austrian marriage which had 
again come under favourable discussion, was pushing 
with furious warmth the vicarious wooing of Elizabeth 
by young Charles ix., through Paul de Foix l in Lon- 
don ; and it was clear to Mary that in these circum- 
stances her marriage with her French brother-in-law 
was more improbable even than ever ; whilst a union 
with his boy brother Anjou, whilst arousing as much 
opposition as a more powerful match, would have 
been perfectly useless for the attainment of her aims 
by force. 

She must have felt keenly, too, the abandonment of 
her interests by Cardinal Lorraine, who was making 
desperate efforts at the time to keep a footing at court 
by marrying his niece to the younger son of France, 
or to checkmate the threatening Montmorencis by 
buying Conde and the Bourbons with the price of 
Mary's hand for the former, suggestions which the 
Queen of Scots indignantly resented. Given, there- 
fore, the absolute need of an immediate marriage, the 
only suitor who could have given her any support in 
enforcing her English claims was Darnley, who at all 

1 For particulars of this intrigue (February and March 1565), see 
Courts Aips of Sateen Mxabeth. 


events enjoyed the sympathy of the large Catholic 
party in England, and the prestige of his royal blood. 
Where Mary appears to have made a diplomatic 
mistake was not so much in marrying Darnley — 
though that was highly imprudent, unless as part of 
a bargain with Elizabeth — as in marrying at all when 
she did. 

Her eyes were, however, always fixed on the 
English succession, and before definitely accepting 
Darnley she made a last bid to Spain and France for 
support. Probably at the same time as the courier 
took Randolph's account to Elizabeth of the grief of 
Mary and the desperation of Murray at the definite 
letter from England about the succession (17th March 
1565), the Queen of Scots saw Castelnau de la Mau- 
vissi&re, the French ambassador, and set before him the 
reasons why she wished to marry Darnley. Castelnau 
had noted the growing fondness displayed by the 
lovers, and foresaw the result ; but as his mission had 
been simply to divert Mary from a Spanish or Austrian 
match, he had stood aloof during the early progress of 
the Darnley wooing. The Queen of Scots now told 
him that she thought the interests of her realm and 
herself would be best served by her marriage with the 
young Stuart, but that she would do nothing without 
the advice of the Queen-Mother, and wished before 
the match was definitely settled to learn the views of 
Catharine and her son. That very night an agent of 
the French ambassador was hurrying south with his 
message, in which Castelnau privately informed Catha- 
rine that he considered the courtship had already 
advanced too far to be stopped. This move of Mary 
towards her French mother-in-law doubtless had 


alternative objects ; first, to provoke an offer of 
marriage at once from Charles xi., or, failing that, 
to ensure French support, or at all events to avoid 
opposition to the union with Darnley. 

Towards the Spaniards she made a similar, and 
indeed more significant, advance. Lethington, it was 
said, was to go to England to carry Mary's reply to 
Elizabeth's final succession letter ; and, with the pretext 
of asking the English queen for a passport for him, a 
Scottish agent named Fowler was sent to London on 
the 17th March. He arrived on the 24th, and, having 
made his request to Elizabeth, he went at night to see 
Guzman, the Spanish ambassador, for whom he bore 
a letter of credence from the Queen of Scots. His 
verbal message was to the effect that his mistress had 
learned from Flanders that Guzman had been instructed 
by King Philip to discuss the business that had been 
broached to him on a previous occasion. Guzman 
was suspicious, for he did not know Mary's signature, 
and the messenger's replies to his cross-questioning 
were not very definite, so he answered coldly that he 
had no such orders from the King. Fowler guessed 
the reason, and said that he would show the Queen's 
letter to Luis de Paz, who knew her handwriting. 
He was loth to go back to Scotland, he said, without 
an answer, as his mistress had been informed that 
King Philip had instructed the ambassador five months 
before to treat with her on the matter. If he had 
done so, retorted Guzman, I should not have waited 
so long as this before communicating with her. No 
sooner had Mary's envoy, Fowler, left Guzman to seek 
Luis de Paz, than a letter from Cardinal de Granvelle, 
in Flanders, was delivered to the ambassador. The 


French Queen - Mother, mainly in order to drive 
Elizabeth into the marriage with Charles ix., which de 
Foix was so hotly pushing in London, had spread a 
rumour that the young King was negotiating for the 
hand of the Queen of Scots. The rumour had reached 
de Granvelle, and he urged Guzman to make a counter- 
move by reviving the pretensions of the Archduke 
Charles to Mary. The next time Fowler came to see 
him, therefore, the Spanish ambassador unbent a little, 
though he was still very cautious. The coming of 
Lethington, he was told, was really only to see him 
about the marriage proposals of Mary ; and in order, 
at least, that the Scottish minister might not be deterred 
from making the voyage, Guzman wrote a letter to 
Mary, vaguely professing a desire to serve her, and to 
speak with Lethington if he came to London. Deeply, 
therefore, as Mary was smitten with Darnley's charms, 
she, or perhaps her ministers, did not lose sight 
entirely of her diplomatic objects. Nor did Lady 
Lennox, who lost no opportunity of pushing her son's 
cause with the English Catholic nobles, and with the 
Spanish ambassador. Philip, she assured the latter, 
was her mainstay and hope in the case of Darnley's 
marriage with Mary, or in that of Elizabeth's death, 
and she and her family would always be his humble 
servants, though the French, whom she did not trust, 
were eagerly offering her their support. 

Marriages, as de Foix said, were in the air. Eliza- 
beth was flirting desperately with him for Charles ix. ; 
she was dropping strong hints that she wanted an offer 
from Don Carlos ; whilst her marriage with the 
Austrian Archduke was looked upon by many as 
certain; and Leicester, in his heart of hearts, was more 


confident than ever that he would finally win the prize. 
This amorous activity in London was of course mainly 
intended to divert all possible dangerous suitors from 
Mary, in which object at the moment Catharine de 
Medici was, moreover, almost as much interested as 
Elizabeth herself. 1 

In the meantime, whilst Mary was endeavouring to 
smooth the diplomatic path, the billing and cooing 
with Darnley proceeded apace at Stirling. 2 Murray no 
longer concealed his distress at the course taken by 
events. The marriage of Mary with a French suitor, 
such as was still urged by Lorraine, would, he knew, 
mean a quarrel with England, the strengthening of 
Catholicism in Scotland, and his own downfall, whilst 
* yf she tayke fantacie to this new come guest (Darnley), 
then shall theie be sure of myscheif, sedition, and 
debate at home.' Religious feeling in the country 
was more bitter than ever on both sides, and in her 
absence in Fifeshire one of the Queen's own priests 

1 Elizabeth's open approaches to the Catholics and to Spain at the time 
(spring of 1565), which quite shocked the conscientious Murray and 
Lethington, also much alarmed Catharine, who courted Elizabeth and 
Leicester with fulsome amiability, and pushed her son Charles ix.'s suit, 
in order to prevent the great danger of an agreement between England and 
Scotland for religious toleration in conjunction with Spanish or Austrian 

* Gossips were already talking of this, in conjunction with Elizabeth's 
even more pronounced philandering with Leicester. Bothwell, who had 
been a fugitive in England and France since his escape from prison, had 
just returned (15th March) to Scotland without licence. With charac- 
teristic coarseness he said, just before he arrived, * that both the Queens 
could not make one honest woman ; and as for his own (Queen), if she 
had taken any one but a cardinal it had been better borne with/ It is fair 
to say that not one atom of evidence is known to justify the latter vile 
innuendo, except the general bad character of Cardinal Lorraine, which 
surely should not be allowed to weigh against Mary. Randolph describes 
{Scottish Calendar, vol. ii., Bain) a game of skittles that he and Mary Beaton 
played against the Queen and Darnley at this time (early in April 1565), 
the latter players losing, Darnley paying the stake, and gave Mary Beaton 
jewellery worth fifty crowns. 


was like to be hanged by the c godly* in Holyrood for 
daring to say Mass for her household. Both Murray 
and Lethington were therefore opposed more strongly 
than ever to their mistress's marriage with any foreign 
prince, unless he was strong enough to dominate Scot- 
land and defy England. Failing their being able to 
persuade Elizabeth to recognise Mary as her heir as a 
condition of a marriage with an English nominee, the 
only solution which presented itself to the two Scottish 
ministers was to let the Darnley match go on, and to 
make the best terms they could for it, although they 
were both deeply distrustful of the young man and his 

Elizabeth's cunning diplomacy had, in fact, made it 
impossible for Mary to marry at all without drawing 
upon Scotland foreign complications or civil war, and 
perhaps both. Murray was heartsick of the business 
when he recognised that not only was Mary bent upon 
marrying Darnley, but intended to do so under 
Catholic auspices ; and after an angry scene with his 
sister he rode out of Stirling on the night of 3rd 
April, retiring to St. Andrews, and leaving Mary to 
her own devices, 1 as Lethington started a few days 

1 Buchanan says that 'there was now much talk abroad of the Queen's 
marriage with Darnley, and his secret recourse to her, but also of the too 
great familiarity betwixt her and David Rizzio. Murray, who by his 
plain downright advice to his sister got nothing but ill will, resolved to 
leave the court, that so he might not be thought the author of what was 
acted there/ Buchanan was too much biassed by religion to be accepted 
unquestionably as trustworthy when he hints at Mary's immorality at this 
period (3rd April 1565) being the cause of Murray s leaving court. As 
we have seen, there was ample political and religious reason for Murray's 
displeasure, and he was no doubt also annoyed at the Queen's imprudently 
displayed affection for Darnley, and at the growing favour to Rizzio, 
owing to Mary's new Catholic surroundings. Sut all these causes existed 
apart from the suggested immorality of Mary at the time, which was after- 
wards assumed by Murray, Buchanan, Knox, and the rest of their party 
for political ends. 


afterwards for England, ostensibly to soften Elizabeth, 
but really with the important secret mission which will 
be described later. Darnley fell ill of the measles, 
apparently the day before Murray's retirement, and 
Mary's attention to her lover on that occasion was 
a grave cause of scandal to the virtuous Elizabeth. 
One of the complaints which Throckmorton was after- 
wards instructed to make to Mary was, ' that she has 
so far proceeded in love of him ; as he, being sick of 
the mezells, which is an infectuoos dissease, she could 
not be persuaded to tarry from him, but attended upon 
hym with as much diligence and care as any could. 
Yea! and that she so much desyred to proceed in 
marriage with hym, as, if others had not been 
scrupulous and fearful to assist the same, she had been 
affianced to him/ 1 

Randolph had now fairly taken fright, as well as 
Murray. He lost no opportunity of whispering 
incitements to the ducal head of the Hamiltons, but to 
no purpose, and his Protestant friends were panic- 
stricken. * Great expectation there is what shall come 
of this great favour to Darnley, which makes some 
muttering amongst us that burst out it must to some 
men's cost.' The English envoy rode as far as 
Berwick with Lethington on his way to England (8th 
April), and how dismal their communings were is 
evident from Randolph's letter to Cecil of the 1 5th. 
Apparently, though he said nothing of this to Ran- 
dolph, Lethington had persuaded Mary not to pledge 
herself to Darnley finally until one more diplomatic 
attempt had been made to gain some political advan- 
tage from the match, if nothing better could be done. 

1 Scottis/i Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 146. 


But it was a forlorn hope, and Lethington's heavy 
heart told him that his mistress would wed the youth 
who had captured her fancy, whatever happened. 
* The matter is now grown to further ripeness,' writes 
Randolph from Berwick. * The Queen's familiarity with 
him (Darnley) breeds no small suspicion. ... It is 
now commonly said, and I believe is more than a 
bruit, that this Queen has already such good liking of 
him that she can be content to forsake all other offers, 
give up all suitors, and content herself with her own 
choice. I know not what Lethington knows or will 
utter, but am assured that, with the best of his 
country, he partakes of their griefs of the inconveni- 
ence and danger like to ensue, which he shall as soon 
find as any.' 1 Darnley remained c doubtfully sick ' all 
through April, * lacking no attendance or comfort, oft 
visited by the greatest and by the fairest, if that may 
help his malady ' ; and as Mary and her court 
travelled in her progress, one noble after another fell 
away from her, till none but Lennox and the Earl 
of Athol stayed to witness Darnley's fateful wooing. 
Even Castelnau, who had been instructed by the 
Queen-Mother rather to help than oppose the match, 
was sent by Mary to France to obtain promises 
of material support, if needed, after the marriage, 
in return for a renewal of the old Franco-Scottish 
alliance. 2 No great hope of this can have animated 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 146. 

9 On his way through London Castelnau was treated by Elizabeth with 
marked cordiality. In a long conversation with her early in May, she 
asked if he would be very cross if she married his king. Her only fear 
was, she said, that she was not worthy of so great a prince, ' as she had 
nothing to recommend her but a small realm, and her virtue and chastity 5 
for on that point she would not yield to any maiden in the world." — 
Castelnau to Catharine (Cheruel). 


the Queen of Scots, for she knew — and said — that 
Catharine disliked her more than ever, and the French 
were flattering Elizabeth to the top of her bent ; but 
appearances had to be kept up, and it was necessary to 
minimise opposition wherever possible. 

Mary's real hope was still fixed on Spain ; and if, 
at any cost, she could get Philip's powerful aid to 
make her the Queen of Catholic Great Britain, she 
would triumph over all her enemies — English, French, 
and Scottish. This was the despairing hope that took 
Lethington to London in April 1565, and induced 
Mary to pause, at least until his return, before she 
wedded Darnley. The letter sent to Mary by Guzman 
from London three weeks previously was, as we have 
seen, almost cold and vague enough to have destroyed 
hope, and, indeed, was only written at all because of 
Cardinal de Granvelle's remark about the desirability 
of obstructing a French marriage for the Scottish queen. 
But, slight as was the hope it gave, Lethington travelled 
to England solely to see the writer, under cover of fresh 
negotiations with Elizabeth. 

Lethington arrived in London on the 16th April, 
and one of the first persons he saw was Lady Lennox, 
for whom he brought a letter from Mary. Almost 
immediately afterwards the countess sent to the Spanish 
ambassador, begging him when he saw Lethington to 
assure him that King Philip wished to favour her (Lady 
Lennox), as she thought such a declaration might help 
Darnley in his courtship, of which she was hopeful. 
Lady Lennox, as usual, was almost treasonous in her 
professions of obedience to the King of Spain, who, 
she said, was Mary's main hope for the assertion of 
her English claims ; and, as the ambassador recognised 


that she had behind her the English Catholic nobility, 
he decided to keep her in hand, until he learned if the 
Archduke's suit for Mary was to be urged by Spain or 
not. A day or two afterwards Lady Lennox entered the 
presence-chamber at Whitehall, and as she approached 
Elizabeth with the usual obeisance, the Queen frowned 
and turned her back upon her : sending a message by 
a chamberlain almost immediately, to the effect that 
Lady Lennox must consider herself under arrest in her 
own apartments, for having received a letter from a 
foreign sovereign (i.e. Mary) without permission. The 
countess did her best to soften Elizabeth's wrath, but 
with little success. The letters of Randolph, and the 
retirement of Murray from court, perhaps also the 
demands of Lethington, had now fully opened the 
eyes of Elizabeth to the fact that the Lennoxes could 
not be whistled back so easily as she had thought, and 
that the love-making at Stirling was of a more serious 
description than that which formed her own chief 
amusement and principal policy. 

On the 24th and 25th April Lethington had long 
conferences with Guzman, in the first of which he 
spoke bitterly of the enmity of Catharine de Medici 
against Mary, and of the combination of Elizabeth 
and Catharine to injure his mistress. On the 25th 
Lethington came straight to the point with an official 
message from Mary to Guzman. She had always, 
she said, desired to be guided by the King of Spain 
alone, and had been negotiating with the Bishop of 
Aquila for her marriage with Don Carlos when the 
bishop died. She had since waited for two years in 
hope of a reply, and had at last listened to proposals 
from Darnley. If, however, there were any hopes 


of the negotiations for the Spanish prince proceeding, 
she was still of the same mind, and wished to know 
what Guzman thought about it, as she had learned from 
Cardinal de Granvelle that he, Guzman, had received 
King Philip's instructions on the subject. With much 
sugared verbiage Guzman repeated, in effect, Philip's 
letter written in the previous August. Cardinal 
Lorraine, apparently fully authorised to act for her, 
had, he said, practically arranged the match with the 
Archduke, and the offer of Don Carlos had therefore 
been withdrawn. It was all a trick of the Queen- 
Mother, who hated his mistress, said Lethington. 
Immediately after the death of Mary's first husband 
Francis, Catharine had sent for the Guises, and had 
extracted from them a pledge that they would not 
forward a marriage between Mary and Carlos, as 
being dangerous for France. In negotiating with 
the Archduke, said Lethington, Cardinal Lorraine 
had acted contrary to Mary's wishes and orders. 
The Austrian match was detested by every one in 
Scotland : it would be quite useless, and worse than 
useless, for the Scottish aims ; and the only object of 
the Cardinal in arranging it, knowing it would never 
take place, was to wreck Mary's own plan for a 
Spanish marriage. Well, replied Guzman, we are 
very sorry, but it is too late now to talk about 
Don Carlos. With regard to the proposals of 
Darnley, continued the ambassador, ' since the Queen 
will not marry a foreigner, the son of Lady Lennox 
appears the most suitable person, both on account 
of his own promise and on account of his parents, 
for whom, and especially for his mother, my master 
has especial regard.' Lethington said that he was 


inclined to think so too, if Mary could not get a 
foreigner powerful enough to overcome opposition ; 
but if the Queen of England did not take it well, 
as she showed signs of not doing, it might be in- 
convenient, because Elizabeth might retort by declaring 
one of the Protestant claimants her heir, or by entering 
into a close union with France. But all this difficulty 
would vanish, continued the Scottish minister, if the 
King of Spain would take Mary and her affairs * under 
his protection, in the assurance that at all times, and 
in every matter, they shall be considered as his own.' 
The arrangement might be concluded with the utmost 
secrecy through Guzman, or through the Spanish 
ambassador in Paris, and kept quiet till the opportune 
moment arrived. c There is no doubt whatever that 
the majority of the gentry and common people are 
attached to my Queen, and I can affirm positively that 
she will follow in every respect the wishes of your 
master.' 1 

Here we have the edifying spectacle of the Protes- 
tant Lethington, speaking perhaps also for Murray, 
willing to make Scotland as well as England a Catholic 
appanage of Spain if no other way could be found 
of establishing Mary's claim to the English crown. 
Failing the King of France and Don Carlos, who were 
now out of the question, Darnley was the only man 
who might be made an instrument to attract a foreign 
power to enforce Mary's ambitions ; and Lethington's 
course was dictated by the highest diplomacy, whatever 
we may think of its honesty. He knew that Philip's 
most vital political necessity was a submissive England, 
and that Scotland was only interesting to Spain as 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 4*3. 


contributing to that end. Lady Lennox and her son 
claimed the support of all the old powerful Catholic 
interests in England ; and if Philip had them at his 
command, with the added advantage of a permanent 
base in Scotland, he might, by the death of Elizabeth, 
find himself at any moment the virtual master of Great 
Britain. The Spanish ambassador therefore smiled 
upon Lethington's advances, and promised to send 
post-haste for his King's decision, which he did in 
terms most favourable to Mary. 

In the meanwhile Elizabeth was in a furious rage, 
alternately ordering and cajoling Darnley and his 
father to return at once ; and, amongst other things, 
positively hinting that she might marry Darnley him- 
self if he came. 1 She went to the length of promising 
Lethington that if Mary would marry to her satis- 
faction, she would make a clear pronouncement as 
to the succession ; but the promise still was vague ; 
that bait had now lost its savour, and the Scottish 
minister answered coldly. Elizabeth then angrily 
asked him if the Darnley wedding had already 
taken place, to which he answered that he did not 
know. Lady Lennox, though in disgrace, was 
jubilant, for she was confident that her son, if not 
already King-Consort of Scotland, would be so before 
many weeks had passed. For once the counsels of 
Elizabeth and her advisers were utterly distracted, 
and something like panic reigned. They were all 

1 The general opinion in Scotland at the time was that Elizabeth had 
eliberately allowed Darnley to go to Scotland for the purpose or pro- 
moting his suit for Mary's hand. This was extremely likely to have been 

the case, the object, however, not being that marriage should result, but 
that discord, and perhaps discredit, might ensue. Elizabeth and Cecil 
appear to have supposed that Lennox and his son would never forfeit their 
great and assured position in England by disobedience. 


sure (28th April 1565) that Mary and Darnley were 
already married. Throckmorton was sent off in a 
hurry to Scotland to stop the match, if not too late, 
with fresh overtures for the union with Leicester ; 
but he had not gone many miles from London before 
he was recalled to discuss the matter again. Then 
the council met Lethington and tried to come to 
terms with him. The Scotsman now boldly demanded 
Elizabeth's approval of the Darnley match, and the 
declaration of Mary as heir of England, on the ground 
that the bridegroom was an Englishman, as the Queen 
of England had insisted upon Mary's husband being, 
and she had actually mentioned Darnley with Leicester 
as one of those Mary might marry as a condition of 
the recognition of her claims in England. 

Elizabeth endeavoured to meet the new danger 
offered by a Spanish protection of the Scottish queen 
and her husband by developing a desperate desire to 
marry the Archduke Charles whilst still negotiating 
for her union with the King of France ; and Leicester 
tried to turn the matter to his own advantage by 
asking Guzman to plead his cause with Elizabeth, 
who he thought might wed him, now that Mary 
could not marry a dangerous foreign prince. With 
the forlorn hope of being able either to frighten or 
wheedle Mary from her resolution, Throckmorton 
was at last (5th May) sent to Scotland. He was 
to give to her a choice of any English nobleman, 
and even to hint at the Prince of Conde if necessary ; 
but his principal lever was still to be Leicester. If 
Mary would marry him, he should be considered 
as Elizabeth's brother on her mother's side ; and 
though the definite declaration of a successor to the 


crown of England was impossible for many reasons, 
everything short of that should be done to favour 
Mary's claim ; but on no conditions could Darnley 
be approved of. One item of Throckmorton's in- 
structions shows how determined Elizabeth and her 
council were to make the most of anything likely 
to injure Mary's reputation. The Queen had been 
greatly shocked at certain stories spread by Darnley's 
relatives c touching the honour and reputation of our 
good sister': such, for instance, as the attendance of 
Mary upon her lover when he was in bed with the 
measles. Throckmorton was to say that Lethington 
having assured Elizabeth that these stories were not 
true, she had forbidden Lady Lennox her presence in 
consequence of them, and wished to know to what 
extent Mary desired that those who propagated them 
should be punished. 

In the meanwhile the discontent of a large number 
of the Scottish gentry with Darnley was consolidating. 
Mary's tender care of her lover had become the talk 
of the country, and Murray, sulking apart in St. 
Andrews, was gradually focussing the dislike of the 
coming marriage, and of Mary's own proceedings. 
Her Catholic ceremonies were more ostentatious than 
ever, and more violendy resented by the Protestants. 1 
Free also from the firm supervision of Murray and 
the grave presence of Lethington, she again became 
imprudently gay in her demeanour. At Stirling, late 
in April, one Monday night, * she and divers of her 
women, apparelling themselves like burgesses' wives, 

1 Mary summoned all her Catholic nobles, at the instance of Lennox and 
Athol, late in April, to go to Edinburgh and punish the bailies of the town 
for the ill-treatment of a priest, but she was dissuaded from extreme action. 


went on foot up and down the town : of every man 
they met they took some pledge for a piece of money 
to the banquet . . . and there was dinner prepared and 
great cheer made, at which she was herself, to the great 
wonder of man, woman, and child. This is much won- 
dered at of a Queen.' * c She is now in utter contempt 
of her people, and so far in doubt of them herself, that 
without speedy redress worse is to be feared. Many 
grievous and sore words have of late escaped her against 
the Duke (Chatelherault), she mortally hates Argyle, 
and so far suspects Murray that not many days since 
she said she saw that he would set the crown upon his 
own head/ 2 

Thus the breach between Mary and her people 
widened. Up to this period she had never been 
personally unpopular, for, whilst keeping true to her 
religion, she had not interfered with that of her 
people ; and her brightness and abandon, excessive as 
it had sometimes been, had only given offence to the 
very dour Puritans. But now that Murray and the 
Protestant nobles had fallen away from her, and her 
infatuation for Darnley had thrown her into the hands 
of the opposite faction, every man feared what next 
might befall, and what religious persecution, at the 
points perhaps of Spanish pikes, might follow ; for 
Lennox was openly boasting that * he was sure of the 
greatest part in England, and the King of Spain would 
be his friend.' 8 Darnley, though still ill in bed, was 
as imprudent as his father, and threatened to break 
the Duke of Chatelherault's head as soon as he could 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 29th April 1565 {Scottish Calendar, Bain). 
* Randolph to Cecil, 3rd May 1 565 {Scottish Calendar 9 Bain). 
8 Ibid. 


get up. Murray was, or pretended to be, distrustful 
of Lethington, Catholics scowled at Protestants, ancient 
feuds between the families were revived, violence was 
rife everywhere, no man trusted his neighbours ; and 
Mary's chief instruments were not now those who 
had steered her so far through innumerable shoals, but 
proud and foolish Lennox and his son, Athol and 
Ruthven, * with David Rizzio the Italian and Mingo 
the valet de chambre/ 

This was the period, probably, when one of her very 
few real friends, Sir James Melville, read her the little 
lecture on deportment which he repeats in his memoirs. 
When he had first returned to Scotland Mary had 
asked this experienced courtier to warn her if at any 
time he noticed her * forget herself by unseemly 
gesture or behaviour,' or do anything that might 
make her unpopular. Melville demurred at having 
such a responsibility placed upon him, but the Queen 
insisted. Some time previously Rizzio had come to 
Scotland in the train of Moret, the Savoyard envoy 
(see p. 228). l He was a merry fellow and a good 
musician. Her Majesty had three valets of her 
chamber who sang three parts, and wanted a bass to 
sing the fourth. Therefore they told her Majesty of 
this man, as one fit to make the fourth. Thus he was 
drawn in to sing sometimes with the rest ; and after- 
wards when the French secretary retired himself to 
France {i.e. December 1564) this David obtained the 
office/ Melville goes on to say that Rizzio was 
imprudent in his conduct, often addressing the Queen 
publicly in the presence of her nobles. This attracted 
the jealousy of Murray and others of the greater 
courtiers, who jostled him aside and insulted him 


whenever possible, which behaviour the Italian re- 
venged by favouring suits and petitions against his 
enemies, * whereby in short time he became very rich.' 
Melville warned him of his imprudence, and recom- 
mended to him a more submissive demeanour, and to 
retire whenever noblemen approached the sovereign. 
Mary, however, would not allow him to do this ; and 
Melville, reminding her of Chastelard, gravely lectured 
the Queen herself upon her too great friendliness with a 
lowborn foreign Catholic, suspected of being a pensioner 
of the Pope, and prayed her to be more circumspect ; 
which advice she promised to follow. With the com- 
ing of Lennox and Darnley, and the rise of the 
Catholic interest in Scotland, Rizzio's position became 
more important, and with a keen eye to the main 
chance he warmly advocated Darnley's suit. 1 

Mary summoned Murray to her side in the first 
days of May, and when he arrived at Stirling he was, 
to his surprise, not to say suspicion, overwhelmed with 
caresses from the Queen and the Lennoxes. The 
next day he visited Mary, who was in Darnley's room, 
and she suddenly produced a paper which she begged 
Murray to sign. It was a pledge that he would aid 
to the full extent of his power her marriage with 
Henry Stuart. Murray, taken aback, asked for time 
to consider, and when Mary refused this, and again 
urged her request, her brother set forth with brutal 
frankness in the presence of both lovers his objections 
to the match. Lethington, he said, had not returned 
with the Queen of England's answer, which might be 
a favourable one for Mary. Besides, he asked, how 
could he (Murray) be expected to forward the Queen's 

1 Melinite Memoirs. 


marriage with one who was * no favourer of Christ's 
true religion,' but an abettor of papists ? Mary railed 
and stormed at him in vain. Murray was inflexible 
in his refusal to pledge himself, at least until Xething- 
ton's return. Great efforts were made to gain the 
consent of Chatelherault and the rest of the nobles, 
in order that Elizabeth's answer, when it came, should 
be confronted by an accomplished fact ; and when 
Lethington reached Newark on his way home, he was 
met by Beaton with instructions from Mary for him to 
return to London again, in order that she might have 
time to work her will. 1 As we have seen, Lethington 
— whatever he might profess — was now in favour of 
the Darnley marriage under Spanish auspices, if no- 
thing better could be devised; and the hopes he 
carried with him were too important for delay. So he 
disobeyed his Queen's urgent written command and 
pushed forward with all speed, overtaking Throck- 
morton before he crossed the Border. As they 
travelled north together news continued to reach 
them from Stirling and Edinburgh of Mary's growing 
infatuation for this * disorderly marriage/ Lethington 
acted his part admirably in the presence of Throck- 
morton and other Englishmen, feigning violent anger 
at the prospect of a marriage that, as we have seen, he 
was secretly advocating. He went so far, indeed, as 
to deplore to Throckmorton that the latter had not 
been instructed by Elizabeth ' to threaten this Queen 
with denunciation of war in case she will proceed in 
marrying with the Queen's rebels, as the last refuge 

1 The imprudent new message that Lethington was instructed to give 
to Elizabeth was that Mary had been beguiled with fair speech too long. 
She would be fed with yea and nay no longer, but had summoned her 
parliament, and would follow their advice as to her marriage. 


to stay her from this unadvised act.' The English 
quite believed in Lethington's sincerity, as they did 
in that of Murray, but it may be doubted whether 
this attitude, of the secretary at least, was not 
prompted by a desire to learn from Throckmorton 
how far Elizabeth was prepared to go in opposition 
to the match. 

Before arriving in Edinburgh the travellers learned 
by a letter from the Queen herself that she had 
summoned a meeting of nobles at Stirling for the 
following day, 13th May, to create Darnley Lord 
Armanock, Earl of Ross, and to obtain from those 
assembled a pledge to support her in her resolve to 
wed her cousin. Murray and Argyle, almost alone, 
stood aloof, demanding that the abolition of the Mass 
in Scotland should be a condition of their consent, to 
which it is clear that Mary would never agree, since 
the only good she could hope to gain from the union 
was the support of Spain and the Catholics to her 
English claims. The rest of the Scottish nobles, even 
feeble Chatelherault, came to heel promptly at their 
Queen's call, for she was a wilful woman determined 
to have her way. c Majesty and love can ill sit on 
the same seat,' quoted Throckmorton ; but highly 
inflamed as Mary's affections might be for Darnley, 
she was at no loss to find plausible pretexts for the 
bold step she was taking. A weak foreign prince she 
would not have, because he would be useless for her 
ends ; a strong one she could not get, for the reasons 
which have been stated. Three years of experience 
had proved to her that Elizabeth was playing with 
her ; and she determined to defy England and the 
Protestants, and throw herself entirely into the arms 


of Spain and the Catholics, even to the enslavement 
of her own people. There was no native suitor but 
Darnley who could have united in her favour the 
countenance of the English disaffected Catholics and 
the goodwill of Spain, the two permanent elements 
of danger to Elizabeth. When love and apparent 
policy go together it is hard to withstand them, and 
Mary had her way. 

Throckmorton was ill received at Stirling. He 
found the castle gate shut to him when he rode up, 
and he had to await Mary's good pleasure for an 
audience. 1 When he saw her he understood at once 
that further remonstrance was useless. She had, she 
said, taken Elizabeth at her word. She was not to 
marry an Austrian, Spanish, or French prince, but 
had been told by Randolph that she was free to choose 
any person within the isle, and she had done so, 
Darnley being a kinsman of both queens, and in all 
respects a fitting husband for her. There was, she 
said, no reason therefore for any complaint on the 
part of Elizabeth. ' I find her,' said Throckmorton, 
c so captivated, either by love or cunning (or by boast- 
ing or folly), that she is not able to keep promise with 
herself, and therefore not most able to keep promise 
with your Majesty/ Throckmorton saw more clearly 
than Randolph had ever done where the danger to 
Elizabeth lay; and his memorandum to Cecil and 
Leicester as to the best means of counteracting it 
advises severity and vigilance amongst the Catholics 
of the north of England, the close confinement of 

1 It is significant that when she received him later both Murray and 
Argyle, as well as Chatelherault, were by her side. Lethington*s interview 
with Guzman had probably wrought the change. 


Lady Lennox, 1 and the prevention of any communica- 
tion between her and the French ambassador ; * but 
chiefly none with the Spanish, which imports most.' 

In the meanwhile the c young fool ' Darnley, though 
still in bed ill, had lost his head at the greatness of his 
new prospects, and he, who had gained so much praise 
for his affability when he first came to Scotland, had,, 
already grown insufferable in his wilful arrogance. 
Randolph affected to pity and deplore Mary's changed 
character. She who had been, as he says, so wise and 
honourable, c hath now so altered with affection for my 
Lord Darnley, that she hath brought her honour into 
question, her estate in hazard, and her country to be 
torn in pieces/ The poor man could not think * what 
craftie subtyltie or dyvelyshe devise hath brought this 
to passe.' c The Queen in her love is so transported, 
and he grown so proud, that to all honest men he 
is intolerable, and almost forgetful of his duty to her 
already, that has adventured so much for his sake. 
What shall become of her, or what life with him she 
shall lead, that already taketh so much upon him as 
to control and command her, I leave others to think. 
Darnley,' continues Randolph, * had even attempted to 
kill one of his warmest adherents — Lord Justice-Clerk 
Bellenden — with a dagger, simply for having conveyed 
to him a message from the Queen which was not to 
his liking.' 

The croaking of Randolph at this time must be 

1 His advice was taken. On the 4th June the English privy council 
resolved that Elizabeth should forthwith marry, ' that Lady Lennox should 
be secluded from intelligence, her husband and son recalled *from Scotland, 
failing which their estates in England be forfeited, Mr. Charles (Stuart), the 
younger son, being placed where he may be forthcoming, and that some 
remission of her Majesty's displeasure be showed to Lady Catharine Grey 
(accounted by the Queen of Scots her competitor) and to the Earl of Hertford." 



accepted with some allowance for a diplomatist who 
had been completely outwitted, and had failed from 
the first in his diagnosis of events. He had suddenly 
seen Mary and most of her councillors change from 
humble submissive friends of Elizabeth to self-reliant 
foreigners with awkward hints, that sounded like 
threats, about Spain and the English Catholics always 
on their lips ; and it was no wonder that he should 
endeavour to blame devilish devices and enchantment 
with the events that he had not possessed sufficient 
penetration to foretell. 1 Mary, he says, was * seized 
with love in ferventer passions than is comely for any 
mean personage — all care of the commonwealth apart 
... I may say to the utter contempt of her best 
subjects. . . . * * Shame is left aside, and all regard 
of that which chiefly pertains to princely honour 
removed out of sight. . . . David (Rizzio) is he 
that now works all : chief secretary to the Queen, 
and only governor of her goodman. . . . The hatred 
towards him (Darnley) and his house, marvellous 
great, his pride intolerable, his words not to be 
borne, but where no man dare speak again. He 
spares not also, in token of his manhood, to let some 
blows fly where he knows they will be taken. The 
passions and furies he will sometimes be in are strange 
to believe.' 2 Thus the disappointed diplomatist writes 

1 In one of his letters to Leicester, deploring with crocodile tears Mary's 
changed demeanour, and even the decay of her beauty, and strongly hinting 
that she had surrendered herself utterly to Darnley, Randolph says : ' The 
saying is that surely she is bewitched — the persons are named who are the 
doers— the tokens, the rings, the bracelets, are found and daily worn that 
contain sacred mysteries' (Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 172). 

8 Ibid. There seems to be no doubt that Darnley had already begun 
to drink more than his weak health or head could stand. His uncon- 
trollable gusts of passioa, succeeded by maudlin repentance, were explainable 
only by madness or drink, and it is certain that he was addicted to the latter. 


from day to day. The worst of the matter is, he says, 
that most people in Scotland, even the Protestants, 
think that Darnley was purposely sent by Elizabeth to 
marry the Queen and produce discord in the country ; 
and evidently Randolph himself had his doubts on 
the subject. His remedy for the trouble, even thus 
early (3rd June 1565), was either to have the incon- 
venient suitor captured or murdered out of hand, or 
else to subsidise the Protestants and other enemies of 
the Lennoxes to raise revolt in Scotland, Of course, 
everybody was to blame but Randolph, who in his 
querulous complainings of his employers forgot that, 
again and again, he had assured them that Mary 
would never marry Darnley, come what might. 
Whilst Murray, Argyle, and the Hamiltons were 
plotting with Randolph for the capture of Lennox 
and his son, Mary was straining every nerve to 
propitiate her opponents. New titles and grants 
were showered upon waverers, the Protestants were 
solemnly assured that no attempt should be made 
to suppress their religious privileges, though they 
insolently asked the Queen for much more than 
that ; and another convention of nobles was sum- 
moned early in June at Perth to confirm further 
the Queen's proposed marriage. But the mustering 
of clansmen on both sides, especially that of Murray 
and Argyle, was so threatening, and the rumours of 
plots so rife, that the assembly was promptly counter- 
manded in fear. There seems to be no doubt that, 
with the consent of Elizabeth (who instructed Randolph 
to assure Murray and his friends of her support), evil 
was intended to the Lennoxes, if not to Mary person- 
ally; whilst Murray never wavered in his assertion 


that a plot had been divulged to him, which aimed 
at his murder at Perth by Darnley's friends. Mary 
even pretended to make another effort to mollify 
Elizabeth by a fresh embassy to London. The man 
she chose for her envoy was a Protestant of the 
Lethington school, John Hay of Balmerino ; but we 
shall see that his apparently hopeless mission to 
Elizabeth was not the only object of his journey. 

He arrived in London on the 23rd June, and 
was greeted with the news that on the same morning 
Lady Lennox had been sent to the Tower. When 
he saw the Queen at Whitehall the next day, Elizabeth 
flew into a rage as soon as he opened his mouth about 
the marriage. When he ventured to beg that he 
might be furnished in writing with the reasons why 
she objected to Mary's union with Darnley, or other- 
wise that she would appoint a commission to discuss 
the matter on the Border, the Queen peremptorily 
refused both requests. Nor would she allow Mary's 
letter to be delivered to Lady Lennox, unless it were 
first read. How could the Queen of Scots think such 
a thing possible ? she asked. Lady Lennox had lied 
and betrayed her. Lennox himself and his son were 
traitors, and she would treat them as such. They 
should be sent back to England, or they should be 
demanded of Mary as English rebels. 

No doubt all this had been expected by Hay and 
his mistress, and the real object of his journey came 
when he left Whitehall and went to the Spanish 
ambassador, for whom he had a letter from Mary. 
Had any reply from the King been received, he asked 
Guzman, with regard to the matter that had been 
discussed with Lethington? By great good fortune, 


only an hour or two before, a letter from Philip, 
written on the 7th June, had reached the ambassador. 
For once there was no trimming or shilly-shally. 
The King of Spain saw that this was the best chance 
that had been offered to him of securing a Catholic 
Great Britain under his protection since the death 
of his wife Mary Tudor, and he came as near to 
jumping at it as was possible by his methods. c The 
bridegroom and his parents being good Catholics and 
our affectionate servants, and the Queen (Mary) having 
so good a claim to the crown of England, to which 
Darnley also pretends, we have arrived at the con- 
clusion that the marriage is one that is favourable 
to our interests, and should be forwarded and sup- 
ported to the full extent of our power. We have 
thought well to assure the Queen of Scotland and 
Lord Darnley's party, which we believe is a large 
one in the country {i.e. England), that this is our 
will and determination ; and that if they will govern 
themselves by our advice, and not be precipitate, 
but will patiently await a favourable juncture, when 
any attempt to frustrate their plans would be fruitless, 
I will then assist and aid them in the aim they have in 
view.' 1 The official message was to be sent to Mary 
through Archbishop Beaton in Paris; but Guzman 
was to assure Lady Lennox, and any of Mary's con- 
fidential agents who might ask, that Philip's aid and 
favour should positively be extended to them, if they 
would be controlled and guided by his advice. The 
Catholic party in England was to be animated and 
encouraged 'to carry the business into effect, with 
Philip's assurance of help at the critical moment ; and 

1 Spanish Calendar t Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 433. 


every resource of diplomacy was to be employed to 
prevent Elizabeth from appointing as her successor 
any of the Protestant claimants/ 

Hay, Protestant and English partisan though he 
ostensibly was, was overjoyed at the news. 'His 
Queen/ he truly said, € desired nothing so much 
as that your Majesty should take her under your 
protection, and that she should follow your Majesty's 
orders in all things, without swerving a hair's-breadth 
from them. I urged him to prevail upon his Queen 
to manage her affairs prudently, and not to strike until 
a good opportunity presented itself.' 1 Hay asked 
whether Mary ought to marry at once or suspend 
the matter somewhat. She might wait, said Guzman, 
until she received the King's official pledge through 
Beaton ; but, above all, she should temporise and con- 
ciliate the English as much as possible. Hay only 
stayed one day longer in London after this, for the 
great wish of Mary's heart he knew was now to be 
granted ; and though he pulled so long and grievous 
a face at the * evil success of his long journey,' when 
he arrived in Scotland, as to arouse the pity even of 
Randolph, it must have been with a merry heart 
beating beneath his doublet that he bore his welcome 
message to Mary at Holyrood on the 7th July. 

Mary was, as we have seen, in love with her young 
suitor, and had already decided to marry him, happen 
what might. Her caprice for him, and her deter- 
mination to supplant Elizabeth on the throne of 
England, had together driven her thus basely to 
promise to submit herself and her realms, present 
and prospective, to the dictation of a foreign monarch, 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 442. 


who was the traditional enemy of the France she 
pretended to love so well, and whose aim was to 
overthrow utterly, in both kingdoms over which she 
aspired to reign, the religion held by the majority 
of the people. But it must have been a sweet 
triumph for her that the support of Spain, for 
which she had been bidding since the death of 
Francis, was at last promised to her as a condition 
of her marriage with the man to whom she had 
taken so violent a fancy. For once, inclination and 
policy seemed to go together, for Mary was blinded 
by love and blunted by Lorraine's teaching. She 
could not see in its true aspect the treachery, the 
wickedness, of her aims. That the hideous methods 
of religious enslavement characteristic of Spanish 
Catholicism were to be employed in crushing her 
own subjects; that foreign pikemen were to deluge 
England and Scotland in blood rather than religious 
liberty should prevail ; that French interests should 
suffer irretrievably, was all nothing to Mary if she 
could call herself Queen of Britain, and enjoy the man 
she thought she loved. 

The danger to Elizabeth was great ; but she dealt 
with it in her own clever, cold-hearted way. The 
King of France was suddenly, but politely, discarded 
as a suitor for her hand ; for she knew now she had 
not to fear the marriage of Mary with a Frenchman. 
But the vain, boastful talk of Lennox, his wife's 
known intriguing with the English Catholics and 
Spain, and the visits of Lethington and Hay to 
Guzman, were sufficient proof of what was being 
plotted ; and Elizabeth became in appearance fever- 
ishly anxious to marry the Archduke, and so to draw 


nearer to Spain. Imperial ambassadors flitted to and 
fro. Leicester's enemies prayed the Queen night and 
day to make up her mind and marry the Austrian, 
and so banish her danger. But, though in appearance 
she was all eagerness to do so, she exercised every 
fascination she possessed to draw from suave Guzman 
some sort of assurance that, if she did marry the 
Archduke, Philip would smile upon the union, and 
regard the bridegroom as his son rather than his 
cousin. But, as we know, Philip, distrusting his 
Austrian kinsmen, had put his money on Mary and 
Darnley, and all that Elizabeth could obtain from 
the Spaniard were bland generalities, which she was 
far too wary to act upon. 

Mary, when the news had come to her at Perth 
that conspiracies were hatching and the nobles of both 
factions mustering their retainers, hurried back to 
Edinburgh, successfully avoiding a plan that had been 
laid by Murray's friends for her capture. For two 
months previously rumours had spread that she was 
actually married to Darnley, and the assertion has 
been seized upon by her apologists, as an explanation 
of her attendance upon him during his long confine- 
ment to bed by illness. There is, however, nothing 
in the form of proof that the wedding took place in 
April or May, except the assumed familiarity of the 
pair, and the confident hints of Lady Lennox and 
others that the union was now indissoluble. But the 
arrival of Hay of Balmerino, on the 7th July, with 
Philip's assurance must have satisfied Mary that she 
might now safely indulge her fancy without sacrificing 
her great ambition ; and there is every probability that 
the alleged private wedding on the 9th July actually 


took place. Randolph wrote hurriedly to the Queen 
a week later that on that day l this Queen was secretly 
married in her own palace to my Lord Darnley, not 
above 7 persons being present, and went to their bed 
to Lord Seton's house. This is known by (means of) 
one of the priests present at the Mass.' 1 In his letter 
to Cecil of the same day (16th July) Randolph wrote : 
1 That whole day (i.e. 9th July) was solemnised, as I 
do believe, to some divine God, for such quietness 
was in court that few could be seen, and as few 
suffered to enter. Her horses having been secretly 
prepared at 8 o'clock that night, she and the Lord 
Darnley . . . rode to Seton. Hereupon rose many 
foul tales, where liberty enough is given for men to 
speak what they will. Two nights she tarried there 
(at Seton) and the next day came to the castle of 
Edinburgh to dinner. It was said that she would 
remain there. That afternoon she and my Lord 
Darnley walked up and down the town, disguised, 
until supper-time, and returned to the castle again ; 
but lay that night at Holyrood. This manner of 
passing to and fro gave again occasion to many men 
to muse what might be her meaning. The next day 
in like sort she cometh after dinner on foot from the 
Abbey (Holyrood), the Lord Darnley leading her by 
the one arm, and Fowler by the other.* In that troop 
being Lady Erskine, old Lady Seton, the Earl of 
Lennox, Signor David (Rizzio), and two or three 
others. These vagaries made men's tongues chatter 
fast.' 8 This being immediately after the receipt of 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. 

* Fowler had been Lethington's confidant and assistant. He was now 
deep in the confidence of Mary. 

* Father Stevenson's Selections. 


King Philip's message, was practically the earliest date 
upon which Mary could have married Darnley with 
safety, or the hope of carrying through her ambitions, 
and there can be little doubt that then, if not pre- 
viously, she began her marital relations with him. 
The papal dispensation had not arrived, and the 
ceremony could not be publicly performed ; but when 
the Pope's permission came, not an unnecessary day 
was lost, the banns being published in the Canongate 
Kirk, St. Giles's, on the 22nd July, 1 Darnley having 
received his coveted dukedom of Albany the day 

On the 28 th July, at nine o'clock at night, to the 
surprise and indignation of many, three heralds stood 
at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, and with a flourish 
of trumpets announced that the Queen had resolved 
to wed, in face of the holy kirk, € with the rycht 
nobill and illustris Prince Henry, Duke of Albany ; 
in respect of quhilk marriage, and during the time 
thereof, we ordain and consent that he be named and 
stylit King of this our Kingdom.' * This last provision 
was illegal without the consent of the Scots Parlia- 
ment, but Mary could refuse her bridegroom nothing, 
and there was nothing his pride did not covet. The 
next morning, Sunday, 29th July 1565, before six 
o'clock, Mary, clad in deep mourning robes, with 
her wide widow's hood, walked between Lennox and 
Athol into the chapel of Holyrood. There she was 
left alone, whilst Darnley, clad in splendid garb and 
glittering gems, was led in by his father. The banns 

1 Chalmers. The first and second publication appear to have been made 
at the Canongate Kirk, and the third publication immediately before the 
ceremony in Holyrood Chapel. 

* Labanoff, etc. 


were proclaimed for the third time ; and then the 
fateful words were spoken that made the nineteen-year- 
old hobbledehoy King-Consort of Scotland. Rich rings 
were exchanged and the troth plighted, and then, after 
prayers and blessings over the wedded pair, the young 
bridegroom kissed his wife upon the lips, and left her 
whilst Mass was being said. That finished, she joined 
him in her own chamber, blushing and smiling, at first 
unwilling to put off her garb of woe and don her 
bridal finery : * more for manners* sake than for grief 
of heart/ says Randolph, with every probability of 
truth. * Then she suffereth them that stood by, every 
man that could approve, to take out a pin ; and so, 
being committed to her ladies, she changed her 
garments, but went not to bed, to signify unto the 
world that it was not lust that moved them to marry, 
but only the necessity of her country, not, if God 
wills, to leave it long destitute of an heir. Suspicious 
men, or such as are given of all things to make the 
worst, would that it should be believed that they knew 
each other before they came there. I would not your 
Lordship should so believe, the likelihoods are so 
great to the contrary, that if it were possible to see 
such an act done, I would not believe it. After the 
marriage followeth commonly cheer and dancing. To 
their dinner they were conveyed by the whole nobility. 
The trumpets sound, the largess cried and money 
thrown about the house in great abundance, to such 
as were happy to get any. They dine both at one 
table, at the upper hand, and there served her these 
earls : Athol was server, Morton carver, Crawford 
cupbearer. These serve him (Darnley) in like offices : 
Elgin, Cassilis, and Glencairn. After dinner they 


danced a while and retired till the hour of supper, and, 
as they dined, so they supped. Some dancing there 
was, and so they go to bed.' 1 

The great conspiracy against Elizabeth and Protes- 
tantism was at last complete. The political system 
of Catharine de Medici and the religious situation in 
France had deprived Scotland of the ally that had 
always been its safeguard against England, whilst the 
acceptance of the reformed doctrines by the Scots had 
created an affinity between them and the Protestant 
power of Elizabeth, such as had never before existed. 
In the new set of circumstances thus created there 
were two courses open to the sovereign of Scotland : 
either to accept Protestantism and become a vassal of 
England, or to make common cause with the great 
enemy of the Reformation, submit to be the humble 
servant of Spain, and restore the lost balance of 
Europe by making both England and Scotland 
Catholic under one crown. The effect would have 
been to reduce France to insignificance, to secure 
supremacy for the papal church throughout the world, 
and to place Europe under the heel of Philip. 

It had been Mary Stuart's golden dream thus to 
vanquish her enemies ever since the death of Francis 
took from her the hope of using French national arms 
for the purpose of asserting her claim to England ; 
and, so long as hope remained that the heir of Spain 
might be her husband, she would accept no other 
advances. When Darnley's suit, as first urged by his 
mother, seemed to be saddled by English conditions 
and safeguards, Mary would have none of it, for it 
would have been useless to her ; but when she learned 

1 Randolph to Leicester (B.M. mss. Cotton Caligula, B. ix. p. 218). 


later from the Lennoxes that it was to be part of a 
widespread Catholic conspiracy in England to over- 
throw Elizabeth, she smiled eagerly upon it, and was 
able, as we have seen, by means of Lethington and 
Lady Lennox, to enlist Philip in the plot, and to 
secure his pledge of powerful aid when the moment 
came to strike the blow. 

It is perhaps too much to say that Mary was 
dragged upon the dangerous slope solely by her 
fervent love for the youth she married ; for she was 
desirous with a similar object of wedding the deformed 
lunatic Don Carlos whom she had never seen; but, 
putting aside her possible adoption — real or feigned 
— of the other alternative, political submission to 
England, the Catholic conspiracy, which was her 
principal aim, was not served in any important degree 
by her hurry to marry Darnley, whilst it consolidated 
and brought to a head all the Protestant distrust 
against her, both in Scotland and England. If she 
had not been precipitated blindly by her love she 
would have seen, as Elizabeth always did, the enor- 
mous advantage of keeping herself free, and shifting 
the balance as required by circumstances. Murray, 
Argyle, and the Protestants might have been made 
to counteract Athol, Glencairn, the Gordons, and the 
Catholics. The Hamiltons and the Lennoxes might, 
by hatred of each other, all have been made humble 
servants of the Queen ; and, following the example of 
Elizabeth, Mary might have attracted or repelled one 
suitor after another, whilst the plan for the capture 
of England by the Catholics with the aid of Spain 
was fully matured, and all the parties pledged, the 
trump card in Mary's hand, her own marriage, being 


kept unplayed until everything was ready for decisive 
action. At another time Mary herself would have 
seen this ; but her love, or caprice, hurried her into 
prematurely disposing of herself upon a verbal promise 
of Philip and hopes from the fussy plotting of Lady 
Lennox : conditional and problematical results to be 
balanced against the certain defection of Murray and 
the Scottish Protestants, the discontent of the Hamil- 
tons and their friends, the enmity of Elizabeth, and 
the fact that, the question being disposed of, no more 
political capital could be made out of Mary Stuart's 


Murray's opposition to Darnlcy — Rising of the Protestant lords- 
Elizabeth's intercession — Damley and Knox — Murray enters Edin- 
burgh — His flight— Renewed appeal of Mary to Spain— Darnley's 
ill behaviour — Murray visits London — Elizabeth's attitude — Philip 
decides to protect Mary — Yaxley's unfortunate mission — Mary places 
Darnley in the background — Quarrels in consequence — Darnley's 
conspiracy — Murder of Rizzio — Mary escapes to Dunbar— Flight 
of the murderers. 

So long as there had appeared to be a possibility of carry- 
ing through the Darnley match in conjunction with an 
arrangement with Elizabeth, Murray had not opposed 
it; but as he gradually understood that Mary intended 
to make it part of a conspiracy against England and 
Protestantism, his objection to it developed in strength. 
In the first stages of Mary's intrigue with Spain through 
Lethington, it is probable that Murray connived with 
the intention of using it as a means of bringing pres- 
sure to bear upon Elizabeth to recognise the right of 
Mary to succeed to the English crown, failing direct 
issue to herself. But when he found, as he must have 
done before Lethington left Scotland for London in 
March 1565, that entire submission to Spain and a 
Catholic revolution in England and Scotland were 
intended, he must have taken fright ; for he was too 
far pledged to the Reformation to side with such a 
policy as that, which, moreover, it was obvious, must 



cause incalculable turmoil and bloodshed, even if it 
succeeded. His firm refusal in May to assent to the 
match, except on rigid religious conditions, and Mary's 
violent anger with him on that occasion, marked the 
parting of the ways. Whatever tortuous diplomatic 
course Lethington might take, Murray thenceforward 
broke with the policy which he saw was to overthrow 
Protestantism in Europe and make Mary merely a 
vassal sovereign of a Catholic Great Britain. Mary's 
apologists have ever been ready to heap abuse upon 
Murray for his desertion of his sister at this juncture, 
and for his subsequent action with regard to her. He 
was more cautious, but no better than other Scottish 
nobles of his time ; most of them were willing to 
murder and forge and lie as often as their personal 
interests seemed to recommend such a course ; but we 
need look no further for the mainspring of Murray's 
action in opposing his sister's marriage and her sub- 
sequent policy, than the fact that he was naturally 
unwilling to be a party to a course which would not 
only have been destructive to him personally if it were 
successful, but would have dragged his country through 
seas of blood, only to establish the supremacy of a 
foreign despot, whose methods filled all enlightened 
men with horror and alarm. 

As early as the beginning of May, nearly three 
months before the marriage, the nobles began to range 
themselves on either side. Murray and Argyle, with 
the aid of Randolph's half-promises that Elizabeth 
would stand by the Protestant lords to the last, had 
drawn towards them most of the Hamilton partisans, 
Maxwell, Rothes, and the Puritans; whilst Athol, 
Ruthven, Hume, and the Lennox followers were 


arming to oppose them. Morton, the son of that 
shifty George Douglas, the erstwhile friend of Eng- 
land, was for sale, his price being the forfeited 
inheritance of his Angus kin ; Glencairn was wavering 
between his allegiance to the Stuarts and his attach- 
ment to the 'religion'; and Lethington, thinking 
above all things of the aggrandisement of Scotland and 
his Queen, was plotting in the background the obscure 
intrigue which was to lay them both at the feet of 
Spanish Philip. Whether the Protestant lords actually 
intended to capture Darnley and send him into Eng- 
land or kill himpn the 1st July, and perhaps also to 
sequester Mary, cannot be asserted positively, though 
the existence of such a plot was generally believed by 
Mary and her friends ; l butycertainly the alarm of 
the ministers and the Protestants in the country 
generally had by that time been so far aroused that 
they were ready for any desperate course which might 
avert what they instinctively felt, rather than knew, 
was the dire danger threatening them by the Darnley 
marriage. At the end of June a Protestant conven- 
tion demanded of Mary the total abolition of the Mass 
and papistry in Scotland, and that all persons should 
be compelled to attend the kirk every Sunday. This, 
of course, Mary would not grant, though, short of 
doing so, she made every effort to assure her subjects 
that she would never force her own religion upon 
them. But the Protestants were not to be tran- 
quillised by professions, for the spectre of Spain lurked 
behind Darnley, and Spain and toleration were known 

1 See Mary's letter to Paul de Foix, French ambassador in England, 8 th 
November 1565, giving him an account of Murray's revolt and justifying 
herself for her manner of dealing with it (Labanoff, i. p. 299). 



to be strangers. And so the armed forces of the 
nobles, according to their views and party, gathered, 
some around Mary in answer to her call, some to 
support Murray and his friends at Stirling, who were 
sending beseeching messages through Randolph to 
Elizabeth's ministers, praying them not to desert the 
Protestants in this their hour of need. Murray was 
summoned to court to give proof to Mary of the 
truth of his pretext for taking up arms, namely, that 
a plot had been formed by the Lennox Stuarts for 
his destruction. He promised that he would appear 
before Mary, and personally justify himself, on receipt 
of assurance for his safety. The safe-conduct was 
sent, signed by the Queen and her privy council, but 
Murray came not. Three days after the marriage a 
peremptory command for him to appear within six 
days on pain of outlawry was issued, but again he 
disobeyed, and was pronounced in open rebellion, 
flying with his followers to join his armed friends 
in the west. 

Mary's conduct at this juncture was queenly indeed. 
However unwise had been the step she had taken in 
marrying so hastily, there was no drawing back now. 
She must fight for her sovereignty, perhaps for her 
faith, against Murray, and if necessary against the 
English as well. The stake was a great one, and she 
was determined to run the risk. So when, on the 
very day that she took up Murray's gage and 
proclaimed her brother a rebel, Leicester's friend 
Tamworth, the Groom of the Queen's Chamber, 
came from Elizabeth with all sorts of complaints 
and minatory warnings to Mary for having dared 
to marry Darnley, the Queen of Scots no longer 


spoke with bated breath and whispering humbleness. 
' I find her,' says Tamworth, c marvellous stout, and 
such a one as I could not have believed/ She would 
listen to no intercession for Murray or the rebels. 
The latter continued to implore Elizabeth's aid, and the 
fulfilment of her promise given through Randolph ; 
but the Queen of England dared not go to war with 
Scotland in support of open rebellion, and affairs on 
the Continent still made it necessary for her to avoid 
driving the Catholics into the field against her ; so the 
Protestant lords besought and protested in vain, whilst 
Mary grew in strength and confidence. 'The lords are 
in great perplexity, so mortally hated by the Queen 
and that faction that it is not possible to reconcile 
them. Some greater matter there is in it than is fit 
to be written. The more I travail in the Queen's 
behalf for them, the worse I speed. She hath utterly 
refused that her Majesty (Elizabeth) shall meddle . . . 
between her subjects and her . . . and hateth the Queen's 
Majesty, as she doth them. Therefore, to be short, if 
ye intend to save or do any good to these noblemen, 
look about you.' l 

Mary was bold, nay, imprudent enough in her 
answer by Tamworth to throw Spain into Elizabeth's 
teeth. She had seen no reason, she said, to defer 
her wedding ; and ' had perfect knowledge of the 
allowance of the principal and greatest princes of 
Christendom of her marriage.' This fact it was that 
gave Elizabeth pause ; for she was straining every 
nerve to propitiate Spain at the time, to counteract the 
dangerous new Catholic league between Catharine and 
Philip. Mary was as well aware as was her opponent, 

1 Tamworth to Leicester, ioth August 1565 (Scottish Calendar > vol. ii.). 


replied, and would speak or keep silent as the Kirk 
might command him. 'As the King had gone to 
Mass and dishonoured the Lord God to please the 
Queen ; so should He in His justice make her the 
instrument of his (Darnley's) overthrow.' Mary 
burst into tears at the cruel prophecy, for apparently 
she was still in love with her husband of a month ; but 
her inhibition against Knox's preaching was practically 
inoperative, for on the following Sunday, 26th August, 
Mary sallied from Edinburgh with her army, horse, 
foot, and artillery, to attack the rebels, some of whom 
were in Argyle and some under Murray at Ayr. * I 
never hearde more outragieus wordes than she spake 
agaynst my Lord Murray/ wrote Randolph on the 
same day, * and sayde she wyll rather lose her crown 
than not be revenged upon hym.' l She knew, indeed, 
that she was playing for her crown, and that boldness 
alone could win. Whilst Mary and her forces 
travelled by Stirling towards the west, Murray and 
his party, much inferior in strength to those of the 
Queen, and with no arquebusiers or artillery, by a 
skilful flank move approached Edinburgh, Murray 
depending for a favourable reception upon the 
influence of Knox and the ministers over the Pro- 
testant majority of townsmen. With hypocritical 
professions of loyalty, and of a determination not to 
attack the Queen in the field, Murray and Chatelherault 
with 1*00 horsemen rode into the royal burgh before 

1 In her tart conversation with Randolph on the following Wednesday, 
about Tamworth's arrest on the Border, she stood up stoutly for Darnley's 
title. « Well, he is a king now,' she said. « Yes,' was the reply, ' to those 
who will acknowledge him to be so, but not to us, for he is an English 
subject.* 'I know what rieht he hath,' said Mary, «and next to myself I 
am assured the best. We shall not want for friends, the King of France 
and others who will not see me wronged ' (Scottish Calendar, vol. ii.). 


men, and through the month of August the prepara- 
tions went on to enable the Queen and her husband to 
pursue and destroy Murray and the lords who had 
dared to disobey their sovereign. Even the Pro- 
testants of Edinburgh, stirred by their old fealty to 
the crown, were ready to side with the plucky young 
woman, who in this hour of danger showed herself a 
worthy daughter of her race ; and she for her part did 
her best to dissipate their fears. 1 

On the 19th August Darnley was with this object 
sent to St. Giles's Church to hear Knox preach. As 
usual, the divine was aggressive and inopportune. 
Whilst the young consort shifted uneasily on the 
special throne prepared for him, Knox preached inter- 
minably at him and his wife. c I will give children to 
be their princes, and babes shall rule over them,' he 
quoted. God had punished Ahab because he did 
not correct his idolatrous wife Jezebel, but in these 
degenerate times Ahab joined with Jezebel in her 
idolatry. Darnley in a rage flung out of the church, 
too much upset even to dine, and went out hawking 
instead. Mary was more confident now, for Scotland 
in the main was with her, and she determined to read 
Knox himself a much-needed lesson. He was brought 
before her at Holyrood the same evening, and was 
told that as he had insulted the King he must refrain 
from preaching whilst the sovereigns remained in the 
capital. He had only spoken the word of God, he 

1 On the 22nd August the proclamation she had published on her arrival 
in Scotland was renewed, assuring the subjects that no change should be 
made in religion, notwithstanding that 'the rebels were trying to cover 
their rebellion bv persuading the good subjects that she and the King were 
attempting a plain subversion of the estate of religion * (Register of the 
Scottish Privy Council). 


replied, and would speak or keep silent as the Kirk 
might command him, 'As the King had gone to 
Mass and dishonoured the Lord God to please the 
Queen ; so should He in His justice make her the 
instrument of his (Darnley's) overthrow.' Mary 
burst into tears at the cruel prophecy, for apparendy 
she was still in love with her husband of a month ; but 
her inhibition against Knox's preaching was practically 
inoperative, for on the following Sunday, 26th August, 
Mary sallied from Edinburgh with her army, horse, 
foot, and artillery, to attack the rebels, some of whom 
were in Argyle and some under Murray at Ayr. « I 
never hearde more outragieus wordes than she spake 
agaynst my Lord Murray/ wrote Randolph on the 
same day, € and sayde she wyll rather lose her crown 
than not be revenged upon hym.' l She knew, indeed, 
that she was playing for her crown, and that boldness 
alone could win. Whilst Mary and her forces 
travelled by Stirling towards the west, Murray and 
his party, much inferior in strength to those of the 
Queen, and with no arquebusiers or artillery, by a 
skilful flank move approached Edinburgh, Murray 
depending for a favourable reception upon the 
influence of Knox and the ministers over the Pro- 
testant majority of townsmen. With hypocritical 
professions of loyalty, and of a determination not to 
attack the Queen in the field, Murray and Chatelherault 
with i^oo horsemen rode into the royal burgh before 

1 In her tart conversation with Randolph on the following Wednesday, 
about Tamworth's arrest on the Border, she stood up stoutly for Darnley's 
title. * Well, he is a king now/ she said. c Yes/ was the reply, c to those 
who will acknowledge him to be so, but not to us, for he is an English 
subject/ < I know what right he hath," said Mary, ( and next to myself I 
am assured the best. We snail not want for friends, the King of France 
and others who will not see me wronged * (Scottish Calendar, vol. ii.). 


dawn on the 31st August. But they found the 
Protestants lukewarm towards them, alarmed at the 
idea of treason or open rebellion. The castle on its 
beetling cliff, with grinning cannon dominating the 
city, held firmly for the Queen, and Murray's cause 
began to look desperate. Beseeching messages went 
speeding to the Earl of Bedford at Berwick for him 
to send English reinforcements, and Randolph almost 
indignantly added his prayers to the same effect. But 
Elizabeth dared not countenance open revolt against 
a Scottish sovereign, with the two great Catholic 
powers friendly with each other, and plotting, as she 
knew, the destruction of Protestantism throughout the 
world ; and Murray prayed for English help in vain. 

Whilst Mary was hurrying back from the west 
country distraction fell upon the counsels of the 
rebels. First they would await and fight her out- 
side the city, away from the guns of the castle, then 
they would take boat at Leith, then they would march 
by Hamilton to Dumfries. And as Mary's host 
tramped through the tempestuous weather to give 
them battle, the rebels first sent to her whining 
messages protesting their loyalty, and their sole 
desire ' to maintain the true religion ' ; 1 and then, 
panicstricken at her approach, they fled towards 
Dumfries, only just escaping capture by the Queen's 
force. Thus they hurried from place to place, whilst 
the great cannon from the castle ramparts banged and 
battered all the stiffness out of their friends in Edin- 
burgh ; and even bullying John Knox, a self-conscious 
Simeon, anxious to depart in peace when the guns 
began to speak, whimpered : c Lord, into thy hands 

1 Scottish Calendar, vol. ii. 


I commend my spirit, for the terrible roaring guns 
and the noise of armour do so pierce my heart, that 
my soul thirsteth to depart/ No doubt it did, and 
his body too. Mary was the c best man ' in Scotland 
at this juncture. Keeping the saddle through the 
foulest weather, and on execrable paths, for twenty 
miles a day, leaving all her ladies far behind her, save 
one of exceptional strength. It was said, indeed, that 
the Queen herself was armed with a pistolet, and 
Darnley by her side was, his fine gilt corselet not- 
withstanding, a poor fribble in comparison with his 
royal wife. 

Whilst Murray and his friends were unavailingly 
begging for English help, Mary lost no time in claim- 
ing the Catholic support, which had been promised 
on her marriage with Darnley. Her first appeal was 
to the Pope. If he would furnish her with a con- 
tingent of 12,000 men, paid for six months, she would 
undertake to ' settle ' the question of religion for good. 
This was a large order all at once for Paul iv., and 
the Scottish envoy was put off with suave generalities 
until the views of Philip could be obtained. 1 But 
the Queen of Scots knew that this, or never, was her 
opportunity, for the rebels were alternately whining 
to her and running away from her, and Elizabeth's 
hands were tied by the Catholic league then being so 
ostentatiously settled between Catharine and her Spanish 
daughter at Bayonne. 2 All the Catholic north of Eng- 
land were straining in the leash for the revolt of which 

1 Cardinal Pacheco to Philip 11., 2nd September 1565 {Spanish Calendar). 

* Mary's ambassador in France, Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, had 
accompanied Catharine to Bayonne, and had held friendly conference with 
the Duke of Alba. This doubly alarmed Elizabeth. See Spanish Calendar > 
vol. i., and LabanofF, vol. i. 


they had been dreaming so long. If Philip had been 
prompt at this juncture Britain might have taken the 
Catholic road — for good or for evil — and the history 
of civilisation would have been changed. A Catholic 
courtier, named Francis Yaxley, a dependant of Darn- 
ley's parents and an agent of Spain, had left London 
for Scotland by way of Flanders in July, for the 
purpose of serving Mary's consort as secretary, and as 
a means of communication with the Catholics. Less 
than a fortnight after his arrival he was sent on a 
mission from Mary to Philip. The letter he carried, 
dated the ioth September 1565, 1 sets forth the danger 
that threatens the Catholic faith, and prays for Philip's 
effective help : € qu'il nous importe, autant pour la 
couronne et la liberte de TEglise pour jamais ; pour la 
quelle maintenir nous n'espargnerons ni vie, ni etat, 
etant supporte et conseille de vous.' At the same 
time John Beaton was sent to Cardinal Lorraine and 
to the Scottish ambassador in Paris with instructions 
that the Spanish ambassador there should be kept well 
posted on Scottish affairs. After an unsuccessful 
attempt to reach the Continent by sea, Beaton was 
obliged to pass through England ; and whilst he was 
in London met Castelnau de la Mauvissi&re, who was 
on his way to Scotland with a mission from Catharine. 
It was as important for the latter as it was for 
Elizabeth that Mary should not place herself under 
the protection of Spain, and Catharine's object was 
to bring about a pacific arrangement to render this 
unnecessary. Naturally Castelnau and Paul de Foix 
found Elizabeth ready enough to help their object 
if she could do so without a sacrifice of dignity. 

1 Labanoff, vol. i. 


She could not well despatch another envoy to Scotland, 
she said, for Mary had sent her back a rude answer by 
Tamworth ; but still, if the Scottish queen desired it, 
she would appoint an English gentleman to accompany 
Castelnau in his peaceful mission. Mary was in the 
stirrups now, and haughtily replied to the hint that 
she did not need any one to intervene between her and 
her rebel subjects, and Castelnau went north alone. 

Elizabeth, indeed, was in a puzzling quandary. If 
she went to war with Scotland by helping Murray in 
his rebellion, Spaniards or French, or both, might set 
foot in Great Britain, and then the foundations of her 
throne might crumble. Mary was defying her, and 
making her own case good before the world, and 
Elizabeth strove desperately to convince the Spaniards 
that she was the aggrieved party. In an interview 
with Guzman in the middle of September she started 
the subject by pretending that she believed he was 
negotiating to send Spanish arms to Scotland. The 
good man protested, quite sincerely, that this was not 
the case, and Elizabeth broke out in bitter complaints 
of Mary and the Lennoxes. It was all a pretence 
of Mary's, she said, that the trouble had arisen from 
religious differences. She had invented this fiction, 
in order to be able to claim foreign intervention. 
1 Well/ replied Guzman significantly, * in any case it 
was a very bad precedent to aid rebels against their 
lawful sovereign.' ' God forbid that I should do that,' 
retorted Elizabeth, who had just sent a fresh remit- 
tance in gold to Murray ; i but Murray and his friends 
should not be crushed unheard.' * It was all Darnley's 
fault,' she continued. SMary had no quarrel with her 
brother, but she was persuaded to refuse him a hearing 


because her husband was jealous/ ' He was only a 
lad, and did not know how political affairs should be 
conducted/ * Thus Elizabeth was obliged to assume 
the, for her, unwonted apologetic attitude ; whilst 
Mary, with activity and confidence, hunted the rebels 
from pillar to post, and met English threats with 
warnings of Spanish aid that paralysed her opponents. 
Castelnau arrived in Scotland late in September, 
and found the Queen in no melting mood. She 
would have no interference, she told him, from any 
foreign prince between her rebel subjects and herself : 
as she had ample means to punish them and bring 
them to reason. 2 * She will agree to no accord with 
them/ wrote Castelnau to de Foix ; ' her courage and 
stoutness being such, that she would rather lose her 
crown and sceptre than make terms with them/ On 
the contrary, she claimed with ready tears of self-pity, 
and almost vehemently, the aid of France, if the Queen 
of England attacked her or aided Murray ; and 
Castelnau, astonished at her firmness, could only beg 
his King to prepare for eventualities, since Mary 
threatened, if French aid were not promptly sent, 
she would throw herself into the arms of Spain. 8 As 
we have seen, she had done this already ; but it was, 
she knew, the rod which would awe both England and 
France into letting her have her own way ; and the 
mere hint of it made Elizabeth almost lachrymose in 
her protestations to the Catholic powers that she would 
not help the Scottish rebels. 

1 Spanish Calendar, vol. i. 

* Papiers d'Etat rtlatifs a Ecosse (Teulet}. 

8 Ibid. Elizabeth was aware that Yaxley had been sent to Spain, and she 
told de Foix that Mary had only done so to frighten her (Spanish Calendar, 
vol. i.) j but she was terribly disturbed at it nevertheless, and Wilson the 
pirate was encouraged to capture him (foreign Calendar, vol. vii.). 


The hopes of Murray and his friends in Dumfries 
waned, as they saw that Elizabeth's hands were tied, 
and that no effectual aid reached them. A last 
desperate attempt he made to find favour with his 
sister at the expense of Darnley, whom he refused to 
recognise as King. Mary's reply to his letter was 
that he was a bastard, a rebel, and a traitor, and 
should be promptly punished as such. On the 8th 
October the dauntless Queen sallied from Edinburgh 
at the head of her troops, and attended but by one 
woman. She was armed, and wore steel, it was said, 
and with her rode her stripling husband in his fine gilt 
corselet; but close behind followed a stronger than 
he — the square martial figure of James Hepburn, 
Earl of Bothwell, newly called back from exile. 1 
Rough and hirsute, shaggy and stern, the strong 
man took the place of leader at once. He had 
insulted the Queen verbally in the hearing of others 
many a time; and Randolph and his friends had 
rolled the choice epithets over their tongues, as 
they pawkily repeated them to Mary herself. But 
she wanted a strong man now, for Athol alone of her 
great nobles stood by her, and she knew already that 
her husband was a painted lath instead of a trusty 

1 Bothwell had hurried back from France at Mary's call, and had only 
landed, after much danger from English pirates, at Eyemouth on the 19th 
September, being received graciously at Holyrood on the following day. 
He was at once restored to his office of lieutenant of the middle marches, 
and shortly afterwards was appointed a member of the privy council. His 
bitter enmity to Murray and to England, and the fact that he had fled from 
Scotland rather than face the foregone conclusion of his condemnation by 
the latter for his former offence of prison breaking and flight, rendered him 
an excellent instrument for Mary s purposes at this juncture. He was, 
moreover, a man of strong purpose, forceful and overbearing, and con- 
sequently would naturally appeal to the Queen in her then mood. It need 
hardly be emphasised that there was no suggestion of love-making between 
them at this early stage. 


blade, and she forgave BothwelTs slurs, because for her 
great aims she needed such as he. So we are told thus 
early that ' Bothwell takes great things upon him, and 
promises much : a fit captain for so loose a company 
as now hang upon him/ 1 Young Darnley, in the 
short period of his married life, had sufficiently shown 
his quality. Quarrelsome, petulant, and vicious, he 
had begun to wrangle with his wife before the honey- 
moon had gone. The first question was that of the 
crown matrimonial, which he demanded for himself. 
Then disputes arose with regard to the appointment 
of a lieutenant-general of the realm, Darnley violently 
demanding the appointment for his rapacious father, 
and Mary insisting upon the superior capabilities of 
Bothwell, in which she was right.* 

The opinions of Randolph and the rebels upon the 
persons that now surrounded the Queen can only be 
accepted with much reserve, but they would naturally 
possess, at least, a germ of truth. They speak of 
4 jars' between Mary and her husband frequently now. 
She was bad enough, said Randolph, but it was the 
duty of her subjects to put up with her ; € but to live 
under him that in all these things that in her are 
grievous, but in him outrageous, they think it intoler- 
able.' 'This man, whom she hath chosen for her 
husband and made a king, showeth himself altogether 
unworthy of that to which she hath called him.' 8 ( I 
may well say that a wilfuller woman, and one more 
wedded to her own opinion, without order, reason, or 
discretion, I never met or heard of. Her husband, 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 4th October (Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii.). 
1 Another later cause of quarrel was Mary's pardoning the Hamiltons 
without Darnley *s consent. 
* Scottijft Calendar, vol. ii. 


in all these conditions, and many worse, far passeth 
herself/ All this, be it recollected, is the testimony of 
men whose every hope and prospect Mary's new policy 
and firmness were ruining ; but there was enough of 
truth in it to show that Mary had already found her 
husband unworthy of her. 

Lethington, always a timid man, was frightened at 
the effects of the intrigue of which he had been a chief 
contriver, and avoided the council as much as possible, 
waiting upon events. Rizzio, Fowler, an Englishman, 
and Francesco, another Italian, c crafty, wily strangers/ 
we are told, were now the Queen's principal advisers. 
Than David (Rizzio) especially, ' no man so great with 
her, the whole governor of this estate.' l At this time 
it was that Mary's enemies first began to drop black 
hints about some disgraceful connection between the 
Queen and David Rizzio. The Italian secretary was 
no beauty, and was of mature age ; and although from 
the first, as we have seen, he had been detested by 
the jealous Scots for his presumption and his foreign 
blood, and Mary had been imprudently familiar with 
him, he had never been suspected of being the Queen's 
lover. So far as can be traced, the slander was first 
started by Murray at Dumfries. It was the safest 
possible stick with which to beat Mary, for the Italian 
had no friends ; and the tippling young booby of 
a consort, who was Murray's principal obstacle, could 
as easily be separated from his wife on Rizzio's 
account as on that of a man who could retaliate. 
Both Bedford at Berwick and Randolph at Edinburgh 
began almost simultaneously to write to London hints 
that they c could, an' if they would,' tell some dis- 

1 Randolph to Leicester, 18th October {Scottish Calendar). 


graceful story about Mary, * but for the honour due 
to the person of a Queen.' * The hatred conceived 
against Murray was because he would not allow or 
authorise Davy in his abuses.' * It was neither for his 
religion, nor for that that she now speaketh, that he 
would take the crown from her, as she said lately 
was his intent ; but that she knoweth that he under- 
standeth some such secret part, not to be named for 
reverence-sake, that standeth not with her honour, 
which he so much detesteth, being her brother, that 
neither can he show himself as he hath done, nor she 
think of him but as one she mortally hateth. Here 
is the mischief, this is the grief.' 1 

Murray and the Protestant lords did not wait for 
Mary's attack, but fled over the Border to Carlisle 
before she left Edinburgh, whilst the Queen's troops 
laid waste the country towards Dumfries, which 
Bothwell held in awe when Mary hurried back to 
Holyrood. So far the Queen had triumphed all along 
the line. She was for the first time Queen of Scot- 
land indeed, freed from tutelage and humiliation ; her 
power was proved to be strong enough to deal with 
her own subjects without dictation, and above all she 
had successfully bidden defiance to the insolent attempts 
of Elizabeth to treat her as a vassal. But no one 
knew so well as Mary that this was only the first 
skirmish of a great campaign, the necessary pre- 
liminary to the struggle that she hoped might make 
her Queen of Britain. The Archbishop of Glasgow 
had come to a perfect understanding at Bayonne with 
Alba, who represented Philip; 2 and though, contrary 

1 Randolph to Cecil, 1 3th October (Scottish Calendar, vol. ii.). 
1 Philip to Guzman, 20th October {Spanish Calendar, vol. i.). 


to the assertion of many of her historians, 1 Mary was 
not a signatory of the great Catholic league then 
negotiated, there is no doubt that the other parties to 
it were cleverly led to believe that Scotland would join 
it, the real intention of Philip and Queen Mary being 
to come to a separate arrangement behind the back of 
Catharine, to the benefit of Spain and the detriment 
of France. The great fight was to come when the 
crown of England was to be wrested from Elizabeth 
and placed by the hands of Spain and the English 
Catholics on the brow of the Queen of Scots. 

In the meanwhile Elizabeth's tortuous gyrations to 
extricate herself from her danger, though extremely 
ingenious, were certainly not dignified. Murray wrote 
to Cecil and to Leicester from Carlisle, on the 14th 
October, eight days after his arrival, reminding them 
that the Scottish lords had only risen against their 
Queen, * but being moved thereto by the Queen your 
sovereign and her council's hand, writ direct to us 
thereupon'; 2 and on the 16th October the fugitives 
travelled to Newcastle on their intended way to Lon- 
don to pray for Elizabeth's intervention on their 
behalf. This did not at all suit the English queen. 
To be seen welcoming at her court the rebels against 
a neighbouring sovereign would have confirmed the 
suspicions, almost certainty, of the Catholic allies that 
she had been the moving spirit in the rebellion, and 
she sent swift couriers up the north road to stay the 
Scotsmen coming south. Murray, perhaps suspecting 

1 Tytler, Robertson, Froude, and others make the statement apparently 
on Randolph's hearsay evidence. It was the highest diplomacy for her not 
to sign the league, whilst keeping its other signatories friendly and in 
hopes of her doing so. It was Philip's aid she wanted unhampered by the 
interference of Catharine. 

* Scottish Calendar y vol. ii. p. 224. 


some such step, had hastened away before the others, 
and met the Queen's messenger at Royston with l her 
Majesty's plain resolution, that it was not meet for 
him to come at this time, but to forbear such open ' 
dealing with her Majesty till further consideration be 
had.' So the rebel earl stayed at Ware that night 
(21st October), though on private hints from the 
Council he entered London at dusk on the following 
day. Elizabeth pretended to be deeply offended and 
shocked at a ' rebel ' daring thus to approach her ; 
4 but it is all make believe/ wrote Guzman to 
Philip, 'for he arrives at night, and is received next 
morning/ It is indeed asserted, with full probability, 
that Elizabeth, Murray, and Cecil were closeted 
together that same night to arrange the comedy for 
the morrow. 1 

Castelnau was in London on his way back from 
Scotland, and he and Paul de Foix, the regular 
ambassador, were informed by Elizabeth, in horrified 
tones, that Murray had arrived. The Queen was, so 
she said, much shocked at the rebel's boldness, but 
would not receive him except in the presence of the 
two Frenchmen, who might hear how he justified 
himself. De Foix demurred, saying that if anything 
fell from Murray derogatory to the Queen of Scots, 
he must retort. If Murray dared to say anything of 
the sort, said Elizabeth, she herself would cast him into 
prison. The same afternoon (23rd October) Murray, 
modestly dressed in black, and with grievous counten- 
ance, entered the presence at Whitehall, the Frenchmen 
standing by. Bending his knee before the Queen, 
James Stuart began to address her in Scots. Elizabeth 

1 Spanish Calendar ', vol. i. 


stopped him at once, and told him to speak in French. 
4 1 have grown so unused to it, your Majesty, that I 
cannot express myself in the tongue.' c Well,' retorted 
the Queen, * you can understand it, at all events ; so 
I shall employ it to speak to you/ And in her own 
majestic way she did speak to him, as if all she 
said was true. She was astounded that he, being in 
rebellion against his sovereign, her good sister, should 
presume to present himself before her. Here were 
Monsieur Castelnau and the French ambassador, who 
had tried to bring Scottish matter? to a peaceful issue ; 
let them hear what he had to say for himself. She 
desired to do nothing that could give the Queen of 
Scotland any just cause for going to war with her. . . . 
Many people were saying that her country was a 
common refuge for all the seditious subjects of neigh- 
bouring princes ; and she had even heard rumours 
spread that she had caused or favoured the rebellion 
in Scotland, which she would not have done for the 
world. She well knew that God, being a just judge, 
would punish her with a similar plague of sedition if 
she gave any help to the rebel subjects of other 
monarchs.' Murray set forth his side of the question 
as he knew it : the Queen's unwise and hasty 
marriage with Darnley, the rumoured intention to 
destroy * the religion/ the design against his own life, 
and the rest of it ; after which relation Elizabeth 
scolded Murray soundly in French for the benefit of 
the ambassadors, and then told him that she would 
take counsel as to what she should do ; but she warned 
him that he was in a very grave position, and by the 
laws of England might be cast into prison. Murray 
probably remained silent from policy, though he held, 


as Elizabeth well knew, her written pledge to help 
him in his rising, and had received large sums of her 
money for its promotion. She prayed the French- 
men to write an account of the interview to their 
sovereign, 1 and then sending for Guzman, who was 
just starting for Flanders, she assured him of her 
detestation of all rebellion, and her anger with 
Murray. 2 Considering that she had actively helped 
the French Huguenots, and soon afterwards sup- 
ported the Flemish revolt against Philip, the true 
value of her virtuous protestations may be gauged. 
With such cold comfort publicly, but doubtless not 
without a close understanding between him and Cecil 
for future action, Murray was fain to return to 
Newcastle. 8 

1 The same night also the English Council wrote to Sir Thomas Smith, 
the ambassador in France, instructing him to give their version of the 
interview with Murray to the French sovereign and his mother. ' Her 
Majesty spake very roundly to him before the ambassador that, whatsoever 
the world sayd or reported of hyr, she wold by hyr action lett it appear 
that she would not, to be prince of a world, maintayn any subject in 
disobedience against the prince ; for besides the offence of hyr conscience, 
which should condemn hyr, she knew that Almighty God might justly 
recompense her with the lyke trooble in hyr owne realme* (Scottish 
Calendar ; vol. ii. p. 228). The other authorities for this interview are 
Guzman's account written to Philip, as related to him by the Queen 
[Spanish Calendar y vol. i. p. 502) ; the Foreign Calendar ', vol. vii. p. 499 j 
Laing's Knox, vol. ii. ; and the Melville Memoirs (1752), p. 113. 

2 Just before his departure from London a week later Murray wrote 
rather bitterly to Elizabeth wondering how he had deserved 'so hard 
handling/ ' The more I think hereon it is ever the longer more grievous 
to me* (Scottish State Papers, vol. ii. p. 231). 

8 It was at first intended to send Lord Lumley to Mary at this juncture 
for the purpose of placating the latter. Whilst still complaining of Mary's 
marriage, etc., Lumley was to assure her that Elizabeth never * did or 
meant anything to comfort the lords now in England or any other rebels j 
and, as for aid of men, ye may precisely bind us that to our knowledge 
there never entered one man of war into Scotland to aid them. And if it 
shall be objected that they had aid in money from us, you may say that 
you are well assured that there was never any money by our order given to 
any person wherewith any act should be maintained against her.* Lumley 
was to propose a new friendship and alliance on Mary's confirming the 
Treaty of 1560, and forgiving Murray and the rebels, Elizabeth offering 


In the meanwhile the great conspiracy against which 
all this double dealing was directed was developing 
apace. It will be recollected that Yaxley, with his 
secret mission to Philip, left Scotland in September, 
but before his arrival (22nd October 1565) the Spanish 
king had elaborated his answer to Mary's petitions 
for aid that had reached him through Guzman. As 
usual, his statement of motives and intentions is a 
tremendous rigmarole, fenced and qualified with pre- 
cautions on every side, in order that he may in the 
end work his will, without himself being compromised. 
The Queen of Scots is so good a Catholic that he has 
decided to help her in her object of preserving her 
realm in the Catholic faith. He is delighted at her 
marriage with Darnley, and congratulates her much 
upon it. But the Spanish help must be given secretly, 
and in the form of money, so that other princes may 
not be made jealous. If the Queen of England sup- 
ports the Protestants by force of arms, effective aid 
in men or money shall be given to Mary by Spain 
and the Pope, but entirely in the name of the latter. 
But, above all, said Philip, Mary must be cautious, 
4 endeavouring always to retain the support of her 
party in England, and I will do my best to assist her 
there with such adherents as I may have ; but she 
must try at the same time not to irritate the Queen 
of England or press her to an extent that may make 
her strike/ 1 Do not let her (Mary) force the Queen 

to l enquire* into Mary's English claims, to release Lady Lennox, and 
restore the estates of her husband to him. Elizabeth, however, contented 
herself with writing to Randolph to a similar effect, as she feared that the 
proposed embassy might ' rayse hir (Mary's) stomach * overmuch (Scottish 
Calendar \ Bain, vol. ii. pp. 229-230). 

1 Philip wrote to Cardinal Pacheco to the same effect a few days before, 
1 6th October, telling him to convey it to the Pope, and to ask him also to 


of England to declare a successor, but keep the dis- 
cussion open € until more ground has been gained, and 
I have placed myself in a position to help her more 
easily than I can at present. Let her consiik me 
before she takes any decisive step '; and, as an earnest 
of his future help, Philip tells his ambassador that he 
is sending him a bill of exchange for 20,000 crowns, 
to be used in helping Mary against the rebels, accord- 
ing to his discretion. Secrecy, and the establishment 
of ample means for conveying intelligence, are im- 
perative, and Mary must avoid, above all things, 
letting Elizabeth imagine that there is any idea of 
claiming the English crown during her life ; and thus, 
with a last warning against French intrigue in Scot- 
land, 1 Philip's letter comes to an end. It suffices to 
lay before us the whole conspiracy which Mary herself, 
with admirable diplomacy, had arranged, in spite of 
Cardinal Lorraine, France, and England, as well as in 
defiance of Murray and the Protestants : a marvellous 
instance of persistent, patient statecraft for a young 
woman, unaided, except by the skill of Lethington and 
Rizzio. With good fortune, and a continuance of 
the cool craft which had carried it so far, it bade fair 
to place the crown of England on Mary's head before 

write to Mary counselling prudence, ' and to be most careful not to let the 
Queen of England know that anything is being hatched against her during 
her life ' (Spanish Calendar, vol. 1. p. 490). 

1 How deep was the distrust of Catharine and her son on their side at 
Mary's intrigues with Philip may be seen by a remark quoted by Guzman 
(24th November), made by a Scottish envoy passing through London from 
France. In his interview with the French sovereigns, on behalf of Mary, 
the former had told him that they were greatly surprised to learn that the 
King of Spain was disposed to help his mistress secretly ; and they appear 
to have hinted that France was willing to outbid Spain in this respect if 
Mary wished. She was too wise, however, to fall into the trap, which 
even her envoy saw and denounced to the Spaniards at once (Spanish 
Calendar, vol. i.). 


many years had passed, and to crush or cripple the 
Reformation. But a woman's passion, and, it must be 
confessed, utter bad luck, ruined it all. 

Before Philip's letter quoted above was despatched 
Francis Yaxley rode over the bare Castilian plain into 
Segovia. He was at once admitted to an audience of 
the King, and told his story of Mary's hopes and fears, 
her faithfulness, and her sole reliance upon Spanish 
guidance in all things. If Philip would help her with 
men and money, c not only would it enable the rebels 
to be destroyed, but would confirm the King and 
Queen in their hope of succeeding to the English 
throne/ Philip repeated to Yaxley his promise of 
effective aid, and, instead of sending the 20,000 
crowns through Guzman in London, ordered the 
amount to be paid in gold to Yaxley in Antwerp ; 
and then, late in October, with a light heart the young 
envoy hastened northward with his important message. 
Guzman, the ambassador, was in Flandefs when 
Yaxley arrived there on the 9th November, and 
they secretly met at the dead of night in Brussels, 
to arrange for the future cipher communications 
between Scotland and the Spanish agents. Receiving 
the 20,000 crowns in gold at Antwerp as arranged, 
Yaxley sailed at once for Scotland, dodged by English 
pirates on the watch to capture him. Alas ! in the 
midst of Mary's anxiety there came, as an additional 
blow to her, the news that his dead body had been 
washed up by the sea on the Northumbrian coast ; 
and the gold that was to have enabled, Mary to 
buy and bribe on her way to the English throne, 
became the bone of contention, to be wrangled over for 
many a month, amidst the jeers of English courtiers, 



by the Earl of Northumberland as lord of the fore- 
shore, and by the crown as the claimant of treasure- 
trove. 1 

We must now turn back somewhat and trace the 
events in Scotland that dissipated Mary's golden 
dream even more ruthlessly than the loss of Philip's 
treasure. The news of Murray's treatment at the 
English court was loudly proclaimed by Mary's friends 
in Scotland as an evidence of Elizabeth's fear and 
impotence, and dismay fell upon the Protestant 
faction : Lethington made up his mind to seek 
favour again, the false scoundrel Morton shifted his 
balance towards the Queen's side, Chatelherault at 
Newcastle sent his humble submission, and prayed 
for pardon, and all the rebels but Murray and Kirk- 
caldy were encouraged to hope that their mistress 
would not prove implacable if they humbled them- 
selves in time. Mary was diplomatic in her triumph. 
She smiled on Randolph again, and readily agreed to 
receive envoys from Elizabeth, and to settle all diffi- 
culties and disputes with her good sister, whose dis- 
pleasure grieved her so much. Kirkcaldy warned the 
English that Mary was playing false. c Send as many 
ambassadors to our Queen as ye please, they shall 
receive a proud answer : for she thinks to have a 
force ready as soon as ye do, besides her hope of 
friendship (of the Catholics) in England, of which 

1 Mary also lodged her claim to the money, and wrote a letter to 
Northumberland on the subject (nth February 1566, Labanoff, vol. i. 
p. 321); but although the earl was, to his subsequent ruin, one of her 
principal supporters in England, and a leader of the Catholic conspiracy in 
her favour, he made no waiver of his claim for her. The Earl of Bedford, 
to whom she also wrote on the subject, and the government in London, 
naturally refused to recognise her claim to funds which they knew were 
destined to be used against them. 


she brags not a little; so driving time is to her 
advantage/ l As we can see now, Kirkcaldy was right 
in his view. Counting upon Spain and the English 
Catholic party — towards which she learned that the 
Duke of Norfolk was now drifting — Mary was in 
high hopes ; but, following the urgent advice of Philip, 
she was ready to go, in appearance, almost any lengths, 
to conciliate Elizabeth until the propitious moment 
for action came. 

Obviously there was no way in which the English 
queen could be more effectively flattered and dis- 
armed than by throwing Darnley into the background. 
His constant absence and devotion to trifling pleasures, 
hawking, roystering, love-making, and what not, and 
his petulant distaste for the hard work of kingship, 
seemed almost to invite the process of minimising 
him. When, therefore, Randolph saw Mary early in 
November, to ask for a passport for Elizabeth's pro- 
posed new embassy, 1 the Queen of Scots surpassed 
herself in amiability. * She found nothing strange (in 
Elizabeth's message), except naming her husband Lord 
Darnley, whom, above all other things, she desires to 
call King.' But, after much pressure from Randolph, 
who said he could only regard the consort as a dis- 
obedient English subject, the passport was issued signed 
by Mary alone. From the first Darnley had been 
jealous and discontented that the promise given to him 

1 The embassy from Elizabeth never went. Sussex and Lumley, who 
had been designated for it, were both enemies of Leicester and the Puritans, 
Lumley afterwards being one of the Catholic conspirators with Spain 
against Elziabeth. The jubilation in Scotland at the proposed embassy 
and its members probably prevented Elizabeth from sending them. She 
instructed Randolph (26th November) to say that he had mistaken his 
instructions, and to take the fault upon himself. Elizabeth, however, 
offered to send commissioners to meet others to be appointed by Mary. 


of the joint crown with his wife had not been fulfilled. 
Francis 11. had been of no better blood than himself, 
he said, and yet he had enjoyed the crown matrimonial, 
making him king of Scotland for life, even if his wife 
died. Why could not Darnley have as much ? The 
* young fool/ immersed in his frivolous pleasures, 
could not, or would not, see the immense importance 
diplomatically of lulling Elizabeth's distrust, until the 
great plan for her ruin should have matured ; and, in 
a pet at what he thought an insult to himself, sulked 
away from court for weeks together. 

Mary was understood to be pregnant early in 
November, and in addition to this she fell ill of 
her old malady in the side, which confined her to 
her bed for some time. Darnley carelessly pursued 
his pastimes in Fifeshire, whilst Mary was in ill-health, 
and surrounded by the difficulties inherent to the 
tortuous diplomatic course to which she was com- 
mitted. Traitors surrounded her, men such as Mor- 
ton, ready to betray her again, but whom she could 
not afford to alienate unnecessarily. There were few 
Scotsmen whom she could trust to be proof against 
English bribes or their personal prejudices; she got 
no help from her husband ; and to the man who had 
been her instrument in successfully concluding the 
plans with Philip and the Pope, the Italian secretary 
Rizzio, almost alone could she turn for counsel ; for 
he, at all events, was unable to change sides and sell 
her. Darnley *s frequent absence had needed the 
making of a stamp, by which his signature might 
be affixed to formal documents, and, naturally, this 
stamp, in the keeping of Rizzio, was impressed upon 
many documents of which the young consort knew 


nothing. 1 The pardon of Chatelherault and the 
Hamiltons, with only five years' exile, was granted and 
stamped in his absence, to his violent anger ; for they 
were his rival claimants to the Scottish throne, and 
the enemies of his house. Mary was growing tired, 
too, of the constant complaints she received of Len- 
nox's extortions in Glasgow, and c wished he had never 
come to Scotland.' Either in pursuance of the policy 
of pleasing Elizabeth by putting Darnley in the back- 
ground, or else because of his neglect of business, the 
consort's name was sometimes dispensed with or placed 
after, instead of before, that of the Queen in official 
papers ; ' the Queen's husband ' he was usually called 
now, and not King ; and the coins which bore their 
joint effigy were ordered to be recalled. 

When, therefore, at the beginning of December, 
Mary was well enough to travel in a horse-litter to 
Linlithgow to meet her husband, matters were ripe 
for further dissension between them. Nor was it 
long coming. For the first time since he came to 
Scotland Darnley devoutly attended Matins and Mass 
at Holyroodon Christmas Eve; 2 and whilst Mary sat 
up all night playing at cards with her friends, Rizzio 
amongst them, 8 only retiring when it was near morn- 

1 About this time Mary seems to have adopted a new form for signing 
documents, to some of which she affixed her own name with the word 
' Fiat * after it, omitting Darnley 's signature altogether. (See her grant to 
Hugh Lawder, 26th March 1566, in Dr. Hay Fleming's Mary Stuart.) 
The practice was not, however, invariable, as many documents after this 
period bear both Mary's and her consort's signatures : that of the Queen 
first, and usually in similar ink to the body of the document, that of 
Darnley frequently in different ink, and evidently signed at a subsequent 

* Fowler to Lady Lennox (Hatfield Papers, vol. i. p. 324$ Scottish 
Calendar, vol. ii. p. 247). 

8 In Ruthven's relation he makes Darnley complain specially of this 
night card-playing with Rizzio as one of the reasons for the Italian's 


ing, her husband rose before day and listened on his 
knees to three Masses in the chapel of Holyrood. 
Randolph on the same day represents the court as 
all in discord, and Mary and her husband with 
* private disorders amongst themselves, but which may 
be lovers* quarrels.' 

Desperate efforts were being made by Murray him- 
self, and the English government for him, to obtain 
forgiveness for his rebellion ; and at first it was under- 
stood that Darnley was the principal obstacle to its 
being granted. But when Philip's reply reached 
Mary, and news of the completion of the Catholic 
league in Europe (February 1566), she, too, hardened 
her heart, and summoned parliament to forfeit the 
lands of the fugitives. It was clear to Elizabeth, 
and also to the Scottish Protestants, that the latter 
had nothing to hope for from Mary's clemency. 
The Catholic plot in England was maturing, 1 and 
the league in Europe seemed to shake the very 
basis of Elizabeth's power. All the world saw that 
the English queen dared not move for her life ; and 
Mary's attitude towards her became suddenly more 
independent than ever. Even Randolph's misdeeds 
were at last dealt with, and he was expelled from 
Scotland for furnishing money to the rebels. 2 

But, beaten at every other point, Murray and 
his friends bethought them of a plan, by which 

murder : * After supper your Majesty hath a use to sit at the cards with 
Davie till one or two of the clock after midnight.* 

1 Fowler, the Catholic secretary of Darnley, had been sent to England 
on this business, and had just been captured and condemned to death. 
Sir Robert Melville, Mary's ambassador, was also, in Randolph's opinion, 
really in England for the same purpose. 

* Through Lady Murray. See Mary's letters on the subject (Labanoflf, 
vol. i.). 


Darnley's boyish ambition and foolishness might be 
turned to their advantage. The ground was well 
prepared. Morton, who was still at court, though 
profoundly distrusted by Mary, was busily whispering 
doubts into Darnley's ear, and he, poor muddled 
wretch, weakly irritated at the disregard into which 
he had deservedly fallen, eagerly walked into the trap 
baited for him. Drury, writing to Cecil on the 16th 
February, says that Darnley was then drinking too 
much, and had quarrelled with the Queen at a 
merchant's house in Edinburgh, where they dined : 
* she only dissuading him from drinking and enticing 
others, in both of which he proceeded, and gave her 
such words that she left the place in tears, which 
they that know say is not strange to be seen. These 
jars arise, among other things, from his seeking 
the crown matrimonial, which she will not yield to. 
Darnley is in great dislike with the Queen, and she is 
very weary of him, and, as some judge, will be more 
so ere long. As true it is that those who depend 
wholly upon him are not liked of her, nor they that 
follow her of him, as David Rizzio and others.' 

Nine days after this was written Randolph 1 
conveyed the intelligence to Cecil that a political plot 
was brewing. Lennox, as weakly ambitious as his 
son, was to see Argyle, who had * wobbled ' backwards 
and forwards, willing to submit if the others would, 
but was still unreconciled in his own country; and 
Lennox was to propose, that if Murray and the 
Protestants would guarantee the crown matrimonial 
to Darnley, he would restore them to their estates, 

1 He was resisting expulsion as long as he could, and had not yet left 
Edinburgh on the 25th February. 


and firmly establish Protestantism in Scotland. To 
this it was said Darnley had already set his hand. 
Nothing surely could be more foolish than this. 
With infinite skill and pains, as we have seen, Mary 
had been able to negotiate a close alliance with the 
strongest power on the Continent, and had entered 
into negotiations with the English Catholics, with the 
joint object of ultimately raising herself and her husband 
to the throne of Britain, the essence of the whole 
business being the adhesion of Mary and her consort 
to Catholicism. Elizabeth, for almost the first time 
in her reign, was at her wit's end, and could do 
nothing effectual to countercheck the powerful com- 
bination against her ; and yet this young simpleton, 
at the instance of his and his wife's enemies, was 
willing to sacrifice everything and change sides to feed 
his silly self-esteem, or perhaps to avenge his drink- 
mused jealousy. 

'The suspicion of this King towards David is so 
great that it must shortly grow to a scab amongst 
them,' wrote Randolph in the same letter as that 
quoted above, and already we begin to see the poison- 
ous effect of the hints started by Murray and 
Randolph in September that the relations between the 
Queen and her Italian secretary involved a disgraceful 
secret. The only way by which Murray and Eliza- 
beth could hope to avoid the disaster to them, 
threatened by the Spanish and papal protection of 
Mary, was to begin by removing from her side her 
principal foreign minister. Murder was an ordinary 
incident of party politics at the period, and the simple 
removal of Rizzio by the hired dagger of an assassin 
would have been easy. But to render it effectual for 


the purpose of its plotters it was necessary that it 
should be accompanied by a separation of interests 
between the Queen and her husband. The plan of 
making Darnley's jealousy the pretext for Rizzio's 
murder was devilish in its ingenuity. It ensured the 
separation of Darnley from the great combination 
in which all his future and that of his wife was bound 
up, it alienated Mary from him, and effectually pre- 
vented Spain or the Pope from intervening in Scotland 
by force of arms whilst he or his new friends had 
any voice in the government of the country. This 
meant a free hand for Elizabeth and the ruin of 
Mary. It was the consciousness that she had Spain 
and Rome behind her that had enabled her for a 
time to snap her fingers at her enemies. Stripped 
of that resource, with her husband and the Lennox 
faction on the other side, and the English Catholics 
disgusted at Darnley's apostasy, she had no force to 
withstand her opponents. The Hamiltons, who might 
have counterbalanced the Lennoxes, were in exile. 
The newly restored Earl of Hundy and his just 
married brother-in-law Bothwell were, it is true, on 
her side, but both of them had obstinately refused to 
go to Mass, though she had entreated them to do so ; 
and Philip would not spend a ducat or risk a pikeman 
to uphold a sovereign whose friends did not swallow 
Catholicism whole and unquestioned. 

Darnley and his father saw none of these things, 
though the wisest head of them all, Lethington, cannot 
fail to have done so. But he had his own cause of 
complaint against Rizzio. As we have seen, it was 
he who had first carried on the successful negotiations 
with Spain, and he had earned the distrust of England 


and of Murray in consequence, but, after all, he 
found that he was pushed aside by Rizzio as chief 
secretary, and he was one of the first persons to 
put in writing a hint that his rival should be killed. 1 
On the 13th February Randolph wrote to Leicester 
that Lennox and his son were plotting to obtain 
the crown (matrimonial) against Mary's will. * I 
know if that take effect which is intended, David 
with the consent of the King shall have his throat 
cut within these ten days/ 2 and he goes on to 
hint that the plot to murder may even be directed 
against Mary herself. Morton too, the chancellor, 
had his special grudge against the Italian, for it 
was said to be Mary's intention to give the latter 
the seals of Morton's great office, and the earl was 
the busiest of the conspirators to convince Darnley 
that the Queen's relations with the secretary injured 
her husband's honour. Morton's jackal was his 
illegitimate kinsman, George Douglas, a man steeped 
in every crime ; and this creature was sent on the 
10th February by Darnley to Ruthven to draw him 
into the plot to avenge the consort's dishonour by 
killing the Queen's paramour, making her husband 
king for life, and bringing back Murray and the 
exiled lords with England's benison. 

On the 1st March the deed of association was 
signed by Argyle, Morton, Boyd, Ruthven, and 
Lethington, and, according to Darnley's statement, 
was acquiesced in by a large number of Scottish 
gentlemen of all ranks. The exiled lords in England, 
Murray, Rothes, and Kirkcaldy, and of course Ran- 

1 Lethington to Cecil, 9th February 1566 (Scottish Calendar, vol. ii.). 
* Tytler. 


dolph and Bedford, were also cognisant of the plot, 
and pledges of pardon and mutual support and pro- 
tection were given by Darnley and the whole of the 
other conspirators. The government in London was 
fully informed of every stage of the proceedings by 
Randolph and Bedford, 1 and on the 9th March 1566 
the black deed was done. Mary was in the sixth 
month of her pregnancy, and as it had always been 
a feature of the plan that the secretary should be 
murdered in her presence, the object was certainly 
to discredit her morally, if not to cause her injury or 
death from the shock. The details of the crime have 
been so often set forth that they need not be fully 
described here, where we are more concerned with 
the objects and results of the act than with the act 
itself, but a brief glance at the attitude of the various 
parties during and immediately after the crime will 
enable us to understand more clearly the significance 
of what followed. 

The day chosen was three days prior to the meeting 
of the Scottish parliament, in which the forfeiture 
of the fugitive lords was to be proposed. It was 
Saturday evening past seven o'clock, when the Queen 
sat at supper — or, as we should now call it, dinner — 
in a little twelve-foot closet adjoining her sleeping 
apartments in the palace of Holyrood. In the tiny 
chamber there was a low couch and a small table, 
at which the party sat : the Queen with her natural 
sister, the Countess of Argyle, her brother, Lord 
Robert Stuart, and David Rizzio, 2 with the laird of 

1 6th and 8th March (Scottish Calendar, vol. it.). 
s The Italian secretary was sumptuously attired on the occasion in a 
' night-gown of damask, furred, with a satin doublet, and hose of russet 


Creich (Robert Beaton) and Arthur Erskine, captain 
of the guard, in attendance, and some servants in 
waiting. Morton and Lindsay, with about one hundred 
and sixty armed men, having occupied the approaches 
of the palace, Darnley led up the private staircase into 
the Queen's apartments Ruthven, who was in the 
last stage of consumption, George Douglas, and two 
other men, all in armour. Leaving his companions in 
the outer room, Darnley entered the little cabinet 
alone, and took a seat by his wife's side at table. 
Almost immediately afterwards the door was opened 
and Ruthven stood unbidden upon the threshold, his 
armed companions behind him. Pointing at the 
Italian, who sat opposite the Queen, Ruthven bade 
Rizzio * come forth from the Queen's chamber, where 
he hath been overlong.' 

Mary, alarmed and indignant at the intrusion, asked 
what offence he had committed. He had offended, 
replied Ruthven, against her honour, her husband, her 
nobles, and her commonwealth ; and with that the 
speaker advanced to seize the secretary. The Queen 
sprang to her feet, whilst Rizzio, having drawn his 
dagger, shrank behind her into a window embrasure, 
clinging fast to the pleats of her skirt. Is this your 
work ? asked the outraged Queen of her husband, who 
gave no answer, but at Ruthven's direction threw his 
arms around her to prevent her from aiding the 
doomed man, at whom Ruthven and his companions 
struck over her shoulder, throwing down the table and 

velvet, with a jewel about his neck and his plumed cap upon his head/ 
'His apparell was very good; as it is said 18 pair of velvet hose: his 
chamber well furnisshed; armour daggs, pystoletts, harquebusis and 22 
swords." — Bedford and Randolph to tie Privy Council (Ellis's Original 
Letters, part 1. vol. ii. p. 218). 



its contents, candles and all, in the struggle. In vain 
the Queen ordered the assailants, on pain of treason, to 
leave the room ; in vain she promised to submit Rizzio^ 
to judgment : Darnley still held his wife, whilst Lord 
Robert and Erskine turned upon Ruthven, who de- 
fended himself with his dagger. Then at a signal 
there rang out in the courtyard and corridor the war- 
cry, * a Douglas ! a Douglas ! ' and soon the Queen's 
chamber was filled with armed men from below. 
Saved from his attackers, but exhausted, and almost 
moribund, Ruthven sheathed his weapon, whilst Rizzio, 
panting and bleeding, was dragged out of the little 
room through the bedchamber and despatched at the 
head of the stairs from the presence-chamber. George 
Douglas, either by accident, or more likely by design, 
snatched Darnley' s own dagger from his side and dealt 
the fatal blow, leaving the weapon in the wound and 
the body to be hacked in fury by others. Morton 
and Lindsay were present at the deed, and professed 
a desire to save Rizzio to be hanged next morning, 
but, if such was really their wish, it was overborne by 
the blood-lust of others. 

When the deed was done, Ruthven, fainting with 
exhaustion, entered the Queen's cabinet again with 
Morton and others. Mary was just recovering from 
a swoon, and her first order was that the dead 
secretary's cipher-chest with her secret foreign cor- 
respondence should be brought to her; and then, 
turning to her unworthy husband, she upbraided him 
for the outrage, to which she knew he had consented. 
He retorted that since the Italian had been so intimate 
with her she had avoided the society of her own con- 
sort ; and Ruthven sought to justify what had been 


done by attributing to Rizzio the blame for what he 
called Mary's tyranny in favouring Catholics, and 
forming leagues with foreign powers to the detriment 
of Scotland. The banished lords, he said, had been 
pardoned by the King, and would join the assailants, 
so that wellnigh all Scotland was on their side. 1 

Mary through the shameful scene saw the wreck of 
all her great hopes : the diplomatical skill and patient 
effort of years wasted and scattered in an hour by the 
ineptitude of the hulking simpleton who stood by her 
side ; and she turned upon the creature that she had 
once loved so fiercely, glowing with indignation now 
that she saw the depth of his iniquity, and in answer 
to his whining complaint that she had avoided his 
companionship she cried, between her tears, * Well ! 
ye have taken the last of me, and so, farewell 1* 
Ruthven dared to lecture her on conjugal duty, but 
she told him that he and others had been divorced, 
and so might she be. Whilst they disputed, Ruthven, 
overcome with weakness, sank upon a seat, and begged 
for a cup of wine to save him from fainting ; and the 
Queen turned her back upon him with a threat that if 
Rizzio's blood had been spilt, 4 it should be dear blood 
for some of you/ But in answer to Darnley's con- 
tinued reproaches of her conjugal coldness towards him, 
Mary scornfully told him at length that he could enjoy 
his privileges that night ; and she was at last left 
alone with her ladies, whilst Darnley and Ruthven went 

1 The principal contemporary authorities for the tragedy are Mary's 
letter to the Archbishop of Glasgow in Paris, 2nd April 1566 (Labanoff, 
vol. i. p. 342) ; Ruthven's narrative (Keith's Appendix) ; the relation sent 
by Randolph and Bedford, 27th March (Harl. mss. Cotton Caligula, 
B. x.) j letter of Morton and Ruthven to Cecil of same date {Scottish 
Calendar, Bain, vol. ii.); Mary's letter to Catharine and Charles ix. 
{Venetian Calendar, vol. vii.), etc 



below to calm the frightened courtiers as to the feared 
results to them of Murray's return. Bothwell and 
Huntly, somewhat unheroically, escaped out of a 
back window and fled. Athol and others were with 
Darnley's permission spirited out of the way by 
Lethington ; and Mary, a prisoner in her own 
apartments, passed the night pacing in indignant 
grief, additionally angry, though probably not sorry, 
that her husband should after all go to sleep in his 
own room, and forget to keep the conjugal appoint- 
ment for which he had pretended to be so anxious. 1 

Darnley at once assumed regal authority, forbidding 
the magistrates of Edinburgh to see or communicate 
with the Queen, and dissolving the parliament that 
had been summoned. The next day Murray, Kirk- 
caldy, Rothes, and the rest of the fugitive lords rode 
to Holyrood in triumph. Before they arrived assur- 
ance of Mary's pardon reached them, for she thought 
at least that her brother would save her life. Anything 
was better than the unchecked control of a puerile 
hothead like Darnley, surrounded by men who had 
proved themselves traitors and cut-throats. 2 A council 
of the lords that night decided to isolate the Queen 
in the castle of Stirling until she had approved of all 
the acts committed. 8 Almost any other woman would 

1 Mary was in great fear of a miscarriage, and sent for a midwife at 
eight o'clock that night. Darnley said that he overslept himself, and on 
waking at six o'clock in the morning went to his wife's room, but she 
refused to receive him as he had not come earlier. 

8 Mary asserted that during the Rizzio scene two of the assailants turned 
their weapons against her, and also that they threatened to cut her into 
colbps and throw the pieces over the wall if sne attempted to communicate 
with the people of Edinburgh. 

3 Mary herself says in her letter to Beaton that her death or perpetual 
captivity was intended, and Blackwood, in his Life of Mary (Maitland 
Club), avers that Murray at this conclave voted for her death. 


have given up the game as lost ; for her Catholic 
champions had run away, her most trusted instrument 
was murdered, her husband had joined her enemies, and 
she was a defenceless prisoner of those who had sworn 
to defeat the dearest hopes and wishes of her life. 

But Mary was no ordinary woman. After all her 

resources as Queen, politician, and diplomatist had 

been defeated, there still remained to her the abundant 

armoury of her personal fascination, her feminine 

wiles, her ready tears, her persuasive caresses ; and to 

these she turned now, as ever, in her hour of greatest 

need. First she readily granted everything that was 

required of her by Murray, Morton, and the rest 

of them, and then she opened her batteries upon 

Lethington. She was in fear, she said, of the rough 

soldiery that kept ward over her ; pray let them be 

withdrawn. There could surely be nothing to fear 

from her now ; commit her to the guard of her dear 

husband for the night ; he would answer for her. 

Darnley, proud of her renewed affection, added his 

prayers to hers, and as she walked to her own chamber, 

with her husband and her brother supporting her on 

either side, the guards that were posted about her to 

prevent escape were withdrawn. 1 Already, earlier in 

the day, a message had reached her from Bothwell 

and Huntly that they were gathering forces, and had 

arranged a plan for her escape that night by having 

1 RuthveiTs report asserts that when Darnley came down after supper, 
about six or seven in the evening of the x ith March, to receive from the 
lords the act of indemnity for the Queen's signature, he asked that the 
guards might be removed. They replied that if he ordered it, it should be 
done ; but they feared mischief, and he must be responsible for the result, 
as they thought the Queen would carry him away to Dunbar or inside 
Edinburgh Castle. Darnley gave his pledge to them, and the lords then 
went to Morton's house to supper (Keith's Appendix). 


her lowered over the walls by ropes. But this scheme 
was full of danger, considering Mary's condition, and 
was rejected for a better one. 

When Mary was alone with him in her room, she 
took her husband in hand. He was, we know, vain 
and a coward, and as clay in her skilful hands. She 
was in fear for him, she said, for if the rebels triumphed 
over them, he himself would be miserably handled by 
them ; and she set before him the splendid dream 
she had for both of them, and how his faithfulness 
to the Catholic Church was the pivot upon which it 
all turned ; and so, conquered by the caresses and 
entreaties of his wife, the unstable creature again 
consented to change sides and betray his companions. 
Yes ; he would fly with her that very night if they 
could get away, and once in safety he would denounce 
and condemn the men who had calumniated and 
outraged his wife. And so, when all in the palace 
and the royal burgh were wrapped in sleep, a way was 
found through the basement of Holyrood, and so to 
the open under the light of the moon. Led by a 
single chamberlain to the place of tryst, Mary and her 
husband found awaiting them with swift horses Arthur 
Erskine and Stuart of Traquair ; and through the 
night the dauntless Queen fled to Seton. There she 
rested a space, and partook of refreshments, surrounded 
thenceforward by two hundred stout Seton clansmen 
ready to defend her ; and almost before the dawn 
began to light the east the strong walls of Dunbar 
were between the Queen of Scots and the deadly 
enemies of her policy. Snatched by her own address 
from captivity, perhaps from a violent death, Mary 
was mistress of her fate once more. 


As for the c noble and mighty Prince Henry, King of 
Scotland,' he crumbled down completely. He had in 
the flight been so eager to get away that he had ridden 
in advance of his wife, and had flung back over his 
shoulder craven reproaches that she could travel no 
faster. 1 Now in Dunbar, with Huntly, Bothwell, and 
Athol rallying to the Queen, he surpassed himself in 
mean cowardice, swearing his own innocence of Rizzio's 
death, but inculpating every one else. 2 Some passionate 
words, said to have been uttered by Mary as she 
passed Rizzio's newly-made grave in her escape from 
Holyrood, were afterwards interpreted to mean a 
threat of murder against her husband by the family 
of the latter, 8 but to all appearance Mary believed 
Darnley's protestations at the time, and endeavoured 
with statesmanlike acumen to reconcile interests and 
personages in a way that would allow her, by holding 
the balance between them, still to have her own way, 
and to carry out the policy which had been so rudely 
disturbed by her husband's ineptitude and her brother's 
religious leanings. Her task of bringing events back 
to their normal channel was immense. Surrounded 
by her armed anti-English nobles, she might, it is 
true, again have driven Murray and the whole of the 
Protestant leaders into exile ; but she was too wise 

i Nau. 

1 ' He hath declared to us in presence of the lords of our Privy Council 
his innocence of this last conspiracy *. how he never counselled, commanded, 
consented, assisted, or approved or the same. . . . That at the incitement 
and persuasion of the late conspirators he, without our advice or knowledge, 

consented to the bringing forth of England of the Earl of Murray, Glen- 
cairn, Rothes, etc. This ye will consider by his declaration, which at his 
desire hath been published at the market crosses of our realm * (Mary to 

Archbishop Beaton, LabanorT, vol. i. p. 348). ' Her husband has disclosed 
all he knew of any man * (Randolph to Cecil, zist March, Scottish Calendar, 
Bain, vol. ii.). 
8 Lennox MSS. y Andrew Lang. 


to do so. Murray, Glencairn, Rothes, and Argyle 
promptly sent their submission to her when they 
found that Darnley had betrayed them, and, with 
the other nobles, were summoned to a convention at 
Haddington; but Ruthven, Morton, and their im- 
mediate accomplices in Rizzio's murder fled across the 
Border, and were publicly proclaimed traitors and their 
property forfeit. 

How far Darnley's jealousy of Rizzio was warranted 
has been a subject of fierce controversy. The Italian, 
it has been admitted, was elderly ; though a contem- 
porary portrait of him presents him as not altogether 
ill-favoured. We have seen from Melville's admission 
that from the first Mary had been very confidential 
with him ; but, as has been shown, there was good 
political reason for her being so, the correspondence 
for the great Catholic alliance with Spain, Rome, and 
Florence being entirely in his hands after Raulet's 
dismissal. De Foix, who it must be recollected, how- 
ever, was a 'politician,' provides the most injurious 
testimony against Mary in the matter. He says that 
Darnley ' a few days before the murder knocked at the 
door of the Queen's chamber, but received no answer. 
Hereupon he called out aloud and begged Mary to 
open the door, but in vain. At last he threatened to 
break it open, and found the Queen, when she let him 
in, quite alone in her room : but looking about, he 
found Rizzio in a closet, who had thrown a morning 
gown over him, having nothing else on but his shirt.' 
But de Foix only spoke at second hand, for he was 
not in Scotland at the time ; and the great balance of 
probability is that Darnley's suspicions against his wife 
were deliberately aroused and fostered, in order that 


they might be turned to political advantage by 
those who wished to upset Mary's great Catholic 
scheme. With the whole evidence before us, it is 
impossible to condemn Mary of flagrant immorality 
with Rizzio; though it must be admitted that the 
imprudence and perversity of her favour towards him 
provided her enemies with the means they sought for 
injuring her. 



Maty returns to Edinburgh — Renewed quarrels with Darnley — Mary's 
plan of revenge — Birth of James — Elizabeth's alarm — Catholic aid to 
Mary — Rise of Bothwell — Alleged amours with the Queen in Edin- 
burgh — Proposed flight of Darnley — His attempted conspiracy — 
Mary's disgust of him — Mary at Jedburgh — Bothwell at Hermitage 
— Craigmillar — The proposal to kill Darnley — Extent of Mary's 
complicity — Her political caution in the matter — Baptism of James — 
Darnley at Glasgow — Mary's visit — Return to Edinburgh — Kirk-o'- 
Field — Darnley's murder. 

On the 17th March 1566 Mary rode into Edinburgh, 
disdaining to be carried in a litter, notwithstanding 
her condition. By her side rode her husband like a 
whipped cur, and around her were Bothwell, Huntly, 
Marischal, Hume, and Seton, with some three thou- 
sand of their armed retainers. To blood-stained 
Holyrood she would not go, but lodged, first in a 
private dwelling in the High Street, and afterwards 
in a house belonging to the Humes, until Erskine, 
having hanged some of the humbler instruments in 
the Rizzio murder, made ready the Castle for the 
reception of his sovereign (5th April). Soon there 
joined her Argyle and Murray, the latter still at feud 
with Huntly and Bothwell, undisguisedly scorning 
Darnley, and bearing but little love for his own shifty 



ally Argyle. With infinite pains and entreaty Mary 
patched up some sort of apparent truce between the 
jarring elements around her, and tried with skill and 
patience to pick up the broken thread of her policy. 

Elizabeth was all amiability and pity now, weeping 
crocodile tears at her dear sister's troubles, and wear- 
ing a portrait of Mary pendant from her girdle, 1 for 
couriers were busily running backward and forward 
between Scotland and the Catholic powers, and Eliza- 
beth was still afraid, 2 though delighted at the blow 
that had been struck at Mary's prestige ; and she even 
made something of a grievance that Mary had warned 
Darnley that she could count upon the friendship of 
the kings of Spain and France, and other princes, but 
had not mentioned Elizabeth, the nearest friend of 
them all. Darnley, weak and wavering, was already 
dissatisfied at the shabby part he had played and its 
results to himself; for Mary was scornful and cold 
towards him, and Murray passed him by and looked to 
the Queen alone for authority. The wretched young 
man was, moreover, in mortal fear that Murray would 
in the end have his way, and persuade Mary to pardon 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 538. 

1 How distrustful she was at the time is seen by the characteristic 
intrigue adopted by her and Cecil of sending the Catholic agent provoca- 
teur, Ruxbie, as a spy to try to draw Mary into a statement as to her 
known communications with the English Catholic nobility. Thanks to 
hot-headed Leslie, the new Bishop of Ross, Mary nearly fell into the trap, 
but was saved by a warning from her ambassador in London, Sir Robert 
Melville, who was, however, himself at the time partly sold to England. 
For the story, see Melville's Memoirs and the Scottish Calendar, Bain, 
vol. ii. Another reason for Elizabeth's fear was Mary's active sympathy 
and co-operation through Argyle with Shan O'Neil'B Catholic rising in 
Ireland. Soon afterwards Murray and Argyle tried to make a bargain 
with Elizabeth, to the effect that if she would promise to protect the 
Protestants of Scotland, they (Murray and Argyle) would retrain from 
affording countenance to O'Neil. 


Morton and the rest of the Rizzio murderers * whom 
he had betrayed, and from whom he could hope for 
no good. This fear drew him closer to Murray's 
enemy Bothwell, the strong man of war, snarling at 
England across the Border, upon whom the Queen 
depended increasingly for support for her future 

Mary's love for her husband had vanished before 
the repeated proofs of his folly and levity. As we 
have seen, she had married him because her fancy for 
him seemed to run parallel with her political interests. 
But the personal caprice had been sated, perhaps 
killed, by his mental and moral insufficiency ; whilst 
his ineptitude in allowing himself to be drawn by his 
enemies into a coalition with the Protestants, for the 
purpose of frustrating his wife's deeply-laid plans, had 
convinced Mary that he was no longer to be trusted 
as a political partner. For her eyes never left the 
goal at which she aimed. Free, now, from the passing 
passion that had for a time warped her judgment and 
hastened her into a plausible-looking marriage, her 
mind had regained its predominance over her heart ; 
and her first object was to get the management of 
affairs entirely into her own hands, by reducing Darnley 
to the position of a cipher. The more he was dis- 

1 Murray was at the same time writing to Elizabeth, begging her, not 
reallv unsuccessfully, although apparently so, to shelter and favour in 
England the fugitive conspirators (Bedford to Cecil, 27th March 1566, 
Ellis's Original Letters). Mary only a few days afterwards wrote to 
Elizabeth in exactly a contrary sense, begging that Morton should not be 
allowed sanctuary in England, but be driven back to Scotland. In the 
same letter she asks the Queen of England to be godmother to her child, 
and concludes pathetically : ' Excuses moy si jecris si mal, car je suis si 
grosse, estant en mon septieme moys bien auvant* (4th April 1566 — Scottish 
Calendar, Bain, vol. ii.). Elizabeth's pretended expulsion of Morton and 
others, whilst she winked at their continued stay in England, is another 
proof of her fear at this period. 


trusted and contemned by all parties, and the further 
discredited he became, the more entirely dependent 
would he be upon her, and the less likely to be able 
to interfere with her policy out of fickleness, personal 
ambition, or malice. The only use he could ever be 
to her was to conciliate a certain number of English 
Catholics, who looked to him, or rather to his mother 
as their candidate for Elizabeth's throne ; so that at 
the moment (namely, April 1566) it was not policy to 
remove him altogether, so long as he could be reduced 
to the position of a nonentity in the government of 

But, like all petulant, vain men, Darnley was hard 
to manage. He chafed and rebelled against the 
Queen's treatment of him. In April he quarrelled 
with her, and left her for a time, because she had been 
shown the bond signed by him for the Rizzio murder, 
and reproached him for his double deceit. 1 It was 
even said that Mary had sent to Rome to obtain 
a divorce from him; 2 and when the French envoy, 
Castelnau, again arrived in Scotland (April 1566) to 
pacify matters, if possible, he found the consort cold- 
shouldered by every one, and did not even speak to 
him for days after he came to court. 8 * He (Darnley) 
is,' wrote Randolph on the 25th April, ' neither accom- 
panied nor looked upon by any noblemen, but is 
attended by certain of his own servants, and six or 
eight of the guard, at liberty to do and go what and 
where he will.' 

1 Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 544, and Scottish Calendar, Bain, 
vol. ii. p. 275. 

3 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 276. 

3 When Castelnau returned to France he carried a letter from Darnley 
to Charles ix., protesting his innocence of Rizzio' s murder {Scottish 
Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 277). 


Every day fresh proof was given of Mary's deter- 
mination to deprive her husband of credit and in- 
fluence. With Castelnau there came to Scotland 
Joseph Rizzio, the murdered favourite's brother, a 
mere lad of twenty years or so, who was made Mary's 
foreign secretary ; and Darnley, so chagrined was he, 
even threatened to fly to Flanders and publish his 
grievances to the world. At a later period he told his 
father that, at this time, a few weeks previous to the 
birth of Mary's child, the Queen — perhaps disgusted 
with him personally, perhaps the further to embroil 
and discredit him — advised him to take a mistress, 
and if possible to make the Earl of Murray 'wear 
horns.' * I assure you,' she said, ' I shall never love 
you the worse.' The father seems to have been some- 
what shocked at this, and advised the King-Consort 
never to be unfaithful to his wife. * I never offended 
the Queen my wife,' replied Darnley, 'in meddling 
with any other woman, in thought, let be in deed.' 1 
Darnley, we know, was a liar, and it was to the 
interest of Lennox when he recounted this story to 
make out Mary to be as black as possible ; but from 
other and more trustworthy evidence it is clear that 
Mary did her best thenceforward to sow secret discord 
between her husband and her brother. 

There is nothing surprising that she should have 
done so, when we consider that her political interests 
needed the dwarfing of Darnley, if not his disappear- 
ance ; and if by fomenting hatred between him and 
Murray she could, without reproach to herself, com- 
pass his destruction, and perhaps that of Murray too, 
if he proved recalcitrant, it would have been a master- 

1 Lennox Papers, Andrew Lang ; and also Buchanan (1721), p. 5. 


stroke of policy. Lethington, who was still unpar- 
doned but tolerated in Scotland, and not unhopeful 
of future favour, thanks to his staunch friend Athol, 
was the wisest of her statesmen, and could be trusted 
to carry out her schemes, if once the masterful in- 
fluence of the more consistent Murray was conciliated 
or removed. Bothwell, upon whom her eyes must 
have already looked with approval, perhaps with 
desire, seemed to be a good instrument to be used in 
the forcible part of her programme. With these two 
ministers, Lethington and Bothwell, the forces of the 
Catholic lords, the support of the English Catholics, 
her own popularity, and the aid of Spain, she might 
yet triumph; but Murray might perhaps be an 
obstacle, and Darnley was a constant difficulty and 
danger, by reason of his instability. If they could be 
made mutually destructive and she blamelessly rid of 
them, she would be a step nearer to success. 

But, withal, she had to move warily. She must 
keep up appearances and avoid scandal; for she had 
not yet lost her head over Bothwell, and was mainly 
concerned with political considerations. She could 
not fly in the face of Elizabeth and the Protestants 
by seizing Murray, nor could she trust him far out of 
her sight in the time of her weakness, or he and his 
friends the English might join on the Border, invade 
hor realm, and end her dream. So, when her time 
approached, and it became a question as to who should 
remain in the Castle beside her husband when the 
looked-for event took place, 1 Mary wisely resisted the 

1 Labanoff and many other authorities, following Randolph's statement, 
say that Mary had intended to go to Stirling for her confinement, and 
that she actually went there for that purpose, hut returned to Edinburgh 


distrustful hints of Darnley, Bothwell, Huntly, and 
the Bishop of Ross that Murray should be put 
under lock and key during her illness, to prevent 
his bringing back the Rizzio murderers ; and it was 
Murray and Argyle and their wives, and not Bothwell, 
who stayed in charge of the Queen's safety, with 
Erskine (Mar) the keeper of the fortress. Bothwell, 
who hated the English with all his heart, was a safer 
man than Murray on the Border ; and to his own 
lands, accordingly, he was sent, salved with the great 
fief of Dunbar. In her apprehension of her coming 
trial Mary made her will ; and in this, too, she had 
regard for the proprieties, leaving to her husband, 
amongst other things, the ring with which he wedded 
her ; and as Castelnau told Guzman on the way back 
to France (in May), though they did not trust each 
other, the Queen and her husband now dwelt for a 
short time together at least without open scandal. 

On the morning of the 19th June Mary's child was 
born ; and Mary Beaton ran with the glad news to the 
waiting courtiers, amongst whom was James Melville, 
praying night and day, as he tells us, for a happy 
delivery of his Queen. Hardly had the news passed 
Mary Beaton's lips before Melville was in the saddle 
and scouring southward as fast as a horse could gallop. 
On the fourth day afterwards, 23rd June, he rode into 
London, and to his brother Sir Robert's house with 
the intelligence. Cecil learned it the same evening 
at his house in Canon Row, and whispered it into 
Elizabeth's ear an hour later at Greenwich. Dancing 

when Darnley joined her at Stirling, it is said to avoid him. That Mary 
had some intention of going to Stirling is also mentioned by Guzman, 
but she did not go. 


and music were going on at the time, but with Cecil's 
whisper a shadow fell, and all mirth ceased. Elizabeth, 
blazing with spiteful jealousy, uttered her oft-repeated 
saying that, whilst Mary was mother of a fair son, she 
herself was a barren stock. But the next morning 
when she saw Melville diplomacy asserted itself, and 
she clothed her face in smiles. 1 Yes, marry! she 
would be godmother to the infant, 2 and would send 
some of her greatest lords to represent her at the 
ceremony ; but when Melville suggested Leicester as 
her proxy, she vouchsafed no reply ; for Leicester, 
she knew, was now deep in the plot with the con- 
servative and Catholic nobles to upset Cecil and the 
new men, and to get Mary declared Elizabeth's heir. 

Fortune seemed, indeed, to favour the Queen of 
Scots just then ; and this will sufficiently account for 
Elizabeth's amiability to Mary, and her desperate 
attempts to seem friendly to Spain. Only a few days 
before James Melville arrived in London with his 
news, his brother Sir Robert had formally repeated 
the request that Mary's rights to the English suc- 
cession should be recognised, Lady Lennox released 
from the Tower, and her husband and son pardoned. 
Elizabeth dared not refuse point-blank, but showed 
herself yielding. If Mary would formally renounce 

1 Elisabeth in her letter to Mary, ten days previously, had said that 
she herself was 'grosse du desire * for the good news of Mary's delivery 
{Scottish Calendar, vol. ii.). 

* It is significant that Melville, when he told Guzman that Mary had 
asked Elizabeth to be sponsor for the child, and that a same request bad been 
sent to the King of France, said that in order not to arouse suspicion she 
had refrained from asking the King of Spain to be godfather, as she would 
like to have done, but had asked the Duke of Savoy, who was connected 
with Philip, but who would not open the eyes of Elizabeth and Catharine 
to the close connection between Mary and the King of Spain (Spanish 
Calendar, Ekzabeth, vol. i.). 



all claim during Elizabeth's lifetime, the latter would 
by word of mouth acknowledge her claim to succeed ; 
and about Lady Lennox, too, she was not so obdurate 
as previously. She expressed herself as quite shocked, 
however, that Mary should help the Irish rebels and 
plot with the English Catholics as she did, both of 
which accusations Melville strenuously denied, though 
his brother Sir Robert and he took care to convey 
everything that passed to the Spanish ambassador in 

Guzman saw on the same day, 24th June, another 
person of importance to Mary. A Scottish Catholic, 
Thornton, who had been sent as her emissary to Rome, 
came with the great news to London on his way back 
to Scotland that His Holiness had sent his mistress 
20,000 crowns, and had provided a subsidy of 4000 
crowns a month to pay for soldiers for the attainment 
of her objects ; and that more money still should be 
sent as soon as the war with the Turk was over. 1 
Renewed promises of Spanish aid were also sent to 
Mary at the same time ; and Robert Melville, Pro- 
testant though he was, and as we now know in the pay 
of Cecil, told Guzman that not a Scotsman of any sort 
would follow Elizabeth after her shabby treatment of 
Murray and his friends; and he agreed with the 

1 How serious was the situation for Elizabeth, and how wide the rami- 
fications of the Catholic intrigue at this time, may be seen by the letter of 
5th July from the spy Rogers to Cecil {Scottish Calendar^ vol. ii.). The 
Poles had agreed to renounce their claim to the English crown in favour 
of Mary and her husband, large sums of money were being sent from the 
Catholics of the north of England to the latter, and armed English 
Catholics were already creeping into Scotland. A plan was devised for 
the capture of the Stilly Isles for Mary and her consort, and Damley was 
foolish enough openly to boast that he had forty English gentlemen ready 
to serve him: this in addition to money, arms, and encouraging letters 
which reached Mary from Spanish agents in Flanders. 


Spaniard that caution must be used by Mary in her 
communications with the Catholics, until her subjects 
were united, and the great blow might be struck in her 
favour. Thus, notwithstanding Darnley's temporary 
defection from the Catholic party, Mary, in the two 
months that had passed since the Rizzio misfortune, 
had managed, partly by good luck and partly by 
diplomacy, to restore the Anglo - Catholic - Spanish 
conspiracy to vigour, and Elizabeth was once more 
compelled to speak humbly to the Queen of Scots, to 
feign a new desire to marry the Archduke, and to 
smile sweetly on Philip and all his works. 

In the meanwhile the relations between Mary and 
her husband did not improve as a consequence of the 
birth of their child. Although some of Mary's ene- 
mies at a later period threw doubt upon the paternity 
of the infant, and Darnley himself is said to have 
questioned it, receiving the reply from Mary that it 
was shown to be * too much his child ' by the shameful 
blemishes upon it, the consort, in his letter written to 
Cardinal Lorraine on the day of the child's birth, 
acknowledges himself as the happy father. Harry 
Killigrew, who arrived in Edinburgh on a mission 
from Elizabeth a week after the birth of James, 
found Darnley and his father (the latter being sick 
and sorry at Holyrood, whilst the consort lodged in 
the Castle) neglected and of little account. Bothwell 
was still in strength on the Border, c his credit with 
the Queen being more than all the rest put together,' 
whilst Huntly remained in Edinburgh. The Bishop 
of Ross was deep in the Queen's confidence ; and the 
most powerful nobles in Scotland, Murray, Argyle, 
Athol, and Mar, had for once forgotten old feuds, and 


were linked together in reality to resist Mary's Catholic 
projects, Murray himself complained to Killigrew 
that 'his credit was but small,' not much better, he 
said, than when he expected banishment, and it appears 
evident that Mary kept him by her, not out of affec- 
tion or confidence in him, but the reverse. 

Darnley in the meanwhile was serving as BothwelPs 
jackal, intent upon any course that could ruin Murray 
and prevent the return of Morton, With this object 
he endeavoured to persuade Mary to pardon the most 
heinous of the Rizzio fugitive murderers, the scoundrel 
George Douglas, in order that he might testify, as 
Darnley said he would do, that Murray and some 
others then unsuspected had been prompters of the 
crime. Mary had not forgotten her resentment, and 
she was unwilling to pardon Douglas. The plan, 
moreover, was discovered by Morton in England 
before it could be carried out, and Douglas swore to 
his kinsman that he had not promised to denounce 
Murray ; but if confronted with Darnley would 
declare that the latter, instead of being innocent, was 
really the originator of the murder. Douglas's oath, 
of course, was worthless, but the story at least shows 
the length to which Darnley and Bothwell would go to 
ruin Murray. 

Before the end of July, when Mary was convalescent, 
Bedford wrote from Berwick : c Bothwell carries all the 
merit and countenance at Court. He is the most 
hated man among the noblemen ; and therefore may 
fall out to his cumber one day ' ; and a few days later 
the same writer reports that * Bothwell's insolence is 
such that David (Rizzio) was never more abhorred 
than he is now. The Queen and her husband are after 


the same manner, only rather worse. She seldom 
eating with him, and keepeth no company with him, 
nor loveth any such as love him.' 

Suddenly at the end of July 1566 Mary, without 
knowledge of her husband, left Edinburgh. She had 
been c overbold ' during the first days of her illness, 
and had consequently suffered from a i hollow cough.' 
She was still in delicate health, barely six weeks after 
her delivery, and quite unfit for arduous travel ; but 
she had apparently conceived a violent repugnance to 
her unhappy consort, and left him. What she said of 
him just previous to her departure, writes the Earl of 
Bedford, 4 cannot with modesty, nor with the honour 
of a Queen, be reported.' Her journey was more like 
a flight than a pleasure-trip, and all men wondered to 
see her, with but a few followers of low rank, hurry 
to the waterside at Newhaven, and embark upon a 
vessel awaiting her, manned by Bothwell's retainers — 
robbers and pirates, Buchanan calls them. Sailing for 
the castle of Alloa, she there took up her residence. In 
what particular way she offended whilst there is not clear 
— for Bothwell does not appear to have been present — 
but Buchanan, whose bitter invective must be accepted 
with caution, talks of her c unprincely licentiousness,' 
and * lack of modesty in all her words and doings.' l 
Probably the poor lady was thirsting for a little of the 

1 Whatever Buchanan may mean by Mary's licentious behaviour at 
Alloa, it is certain that the Queen did not neglect matters of state during 
the few days she stayed there, as several official documents still extant 
prove. It was there (28th July), on the advice of her council, that she 
decided to proceed later in person to Jedburgh, for the purpose of holding 
an assize, and punishing the riotous borderers, Johnstones, Elliots, Arm- 
strongs, Iters, and the rest of them, who by their forays and feuds had 
reduced the neighbourhood to anarchy. It will be seen, therefore, that her 
journey to Jedburgh was not undertaken suddenly in consequence of 
BothwelPs wound, as Buchanan and others try to make out. 


gay abandonment and self-indulgence she loved so 
much, after her six weeks' illness in the gloomy castle 
on the cliff, and thought that the sea trip and change 
of scene would be beneficial. In any case she did not 
enjoy her pleasure long undisturbed, for her husband 
took horse as soon as he heard of her departure, and 
rode to Alloa by Stirling to join her ; but he met with 
a repellent reception, and left her a few hours later. 

Thus from day to day the distance between them 
grew. Occasionally for a short time some sort of 
reconciliation was effected, as it was soon after his 
repulse at Alloa ; but Darnley's jealousy and petulance 
knew no bounds. Murray and the Protestant lords 
had, he thought, played false with him, as he most 
certainly had with their associates. They were to 
make him all-powerful if he brought them back and 
into favour. He had done so, and had gained the 
hatred of his wife by killing Rizzio as part of the 
plan ; and after all he was more of a cipher than 
before, contemned by every one. Revenge upon 
Murray, and fear of the pardon of Morton, were the 
principal motives of his actions ; and when he saw 
Murray and Argyle still by the Queen's side he could 
not master himself, and either fell into foolish rage, 
or sulked away from court at Dunfermline, Stirling, 
or elsewhere. 

In the first week of August one night he was with 
the Queen in the castle of Edinburgh, and told her 
that he meant to kill Murray, as she was favouring 
him too much. Mary, alarmed and angry, sent 
immediately to her brother to come urgently to see 
her. Waiting only to cast a gown over his night garb, 
Murray hurried to the Queen's chamber, to be told 


that his assassination was planned by the King-Consort, 
and to be bidden to tax Darnley with it. This action 
of Mary would seem to be deliberately directed to the 
exacerbation of the ill-will already existing ; and when 
the earl, in the presence of the Queen and many 
others, publicly accused Darnley of his criminal intent, 
the unhappy young fellow was obliged tearfully to 
confess it and seek to excuse himself as best he might 
with feigned repentance, and to be soundly rated before 
the whole roomful of people both by Murray and the 
Queen herself, who said that she would permit no one, 
not even her husband, to slight Murray. And with 
this Darnley again flung away from court to sulk at 
Dunfermline, c having at his farewell such countenance 
as would make a husband heavy at heart.' 

But he was soon back again, and was admitted by 
Mary to conjugal life once more. It is clear to see 
that he was unhappy away from his wife, and crazy 
with jealousy and wounded pride whilst he was with 
her. He had enough sense to see that his folly and 
instability in the Rizzio affair had condemned him to 
death, if ever Murray brought back the exiles ; as, 
sooner or later, he would certainly do. There was no 
one to save him but Mary and Bothwell ; for he him- 
self had no friends, and his father by his extortions 
and greed had alienated even his own people. The 
one and only hope for Darnley was now humbly to 
follow his wife, as a satellite rather than a husband, 
and to strive, in season and out of season, for the ruin 
or death of Murray. His only ally, Bothwell, was 
growing almost as unpopular as himself. The earl 
had always been rough and masterful with the other 
nobles, and his sea-roving and Border-rieving methods 


were considered hardly respectable ; there was still a 
rankling feud between him and Murray, though they 
were occasionally obliged to meet at court ; he had been 
condemned more than once by his own Queen for 
lawlessness, and had escaped serious punishment by his 
boldness or evasion. He did not belong to the Catholic 
party, and had refused to attend Mary's Mass, whilst 
he was at issue with the friends of England. 

Standing thus alone, hated by his fellows, it would 
appear at first sight somewhat curious that Mary 
should have selected him especially for her instrument, 
unless she was captivated by him personally from the 
beginning, as she certainly was afterwards. But really 
he had one quality, apart from any personal attraction 
or ability, which made him the one man in all Scotland 
the fittest for Mary's purpose. The other nobles had, 
almost to a man, at one time or another succumbed to 
the bribes or blandishments of England. From the first, 
and unwaveringly, Bothwell had been England's bitter 
enemy, and might be trusted to remain so. This in 
Mary's eyes must have outweighed much that was to 
be urged against him, and may well account for her 
first close association with him. With the greater 
hopes for the success of Mary's plans, inspired by the 
remittances and promises from Rome, Flanders, and 
Spain, and by Elizabeth's evident helplessness, Both- 
well's favour steadily grew, to the dismay of Murray 
and his friends. There was even a plot to assassinate 
him when he went to Edinburgh in August. * Both- 
well,' writes Bedford on the 12th August, 4 has grown 
of late so much hated that he cannot long continue. 
He beareth all the sway, and though Murray be there 
and has good words, yet can he do nothing/ He and 


Murray came almost to blows in the Queen's presence 
at this time, because Murray wished to bring Lething- 
ton back into the Queen's favour ; but Mary knew 
the men she wanted, and cleverly managed soon after- 
wards to reconcile Bothwell to the astute secretary's 

For some days, from 13th to 19th August, Mary, 
with her husband, Murray, Bothwell, and Mar, were 
hunting somewhat unsuccessfully in south Peebles, 
Darnley repaying by his loutish behaviour the neglect 
and indifference with which his wife treated him. 1 On 
her way back to Edinburgh (20th August) Mary 
arranged that her child should be placed in safety at 
Stirling with Lady Murray, and thither she went 
herself on the 28th to instal him, and to receive 
Lethington with his friend Athol. What arguments 
she used to reconcile Bothwell to this may well be 
guessed. She had only to tell him that the secretary 
had been her first powerful instrument to conclude her 
Spanish alliance against Elizabeth. In any case the 
Queen diplomatically managed a fortnight afterwards 
to bring them together, with Murray and herself, 
secredy in a private house in Edinburgh, and at her 
request Bothwell graciously made friends with the 
restored secretary, and came also to some sort of work- 
ing agreement with Murray and the lords. This private 
house, of which Lethington himself speaks, 2 was 

1 Nau's Mary Stuart, p. 30, and Buchanan. On Mary's return from 
this expedition the new French ambassador in London, La Foret, wrote to 
Catharine saying that Mary was at Stirling and her husband eight leagues 
away hunting ( with a very small company, and discontented ,• which, 
however, is no new thing or of any importance, for they cannot be together 
for three days without a riot ' (Cheruel). 

* Lethington to Cecil, 20th September (Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. 
p. 131). 


doubtless that adjoining the dwelling of John Balfour, 
mentioned by Buchanan in his scandalous story of 
Mary's amours with Bothwell at this time. Previously 
nothing had been said implying that Mary was in love 
with the Border earl ; but Buchanan tells the story 
coarsely enough, and with a tone of conviction that has 
carried credit with it, even to those most disinclined to 
believe it. 

His account is to the effect that the Queen moved 
from the private house into the Exchequer, the garden 
of which had a door into the house of BothwelTs 
servant Chalmers. 1 By the mediation of Lady Reres 
(or Mrs. Forbes of Reres), an infamous woman, now 
obese and elderly, but formerly Bothwell's mistress, 
who had been made one of the Queen's bedchamber 
ladies, Bothwell was brought from Chalmers's house 
to the Queen's lodging, and there, according to 
Mary's later statement, forced her against her will. 
With hollow mirth Buchanan scoffs at this latter state- 
ment, and says that a few nights afterwards Mary 
sent Lady Reres to fetch Bothwell again to her 
chamber. The communicating door in the garden 
was this time closed, and as the corpulent Reres 
was being lowered over the wall by Mary and one 
of her maids, the rope broke, and the massive pro- 
curess came down a crash. Nothing dismayed, how- 

1 There is in the Hatfield Papers, vol. ii. p. 46, a curious account of this 
man's career which to some extent confirms Buchanan's statement as to 
Mary's behaviour at this time. David Chalmers had been educated in 
France, and was made by Bothwell Provost of Creithtoun, and afterwards 
Lord of Session, not for nis learning, ' but because he had served Bothwell 
as a bawd and otherwise in his naughty practices. He was a great dealer 
betwixt the Queen and Bothwell, so, as Mr. David's lodging was chosen 
as a place meet to exercise their fllthiness into, before the King's murder, 
when as the Queen lay at the Checker House in the Cowgate.' Lennox 
accused Chalmers of being an accomplice in Darnley's murder. 


ever, she waddled to the room in which Bothwell was 
sleeping with his young wife, and brought him, half- 
dressed, to the Queen's chamber. Buchanan, to sub- 
stantiate this story (which he tells with a frankness 
impossible to be repeated here), says that George 
Dalgleish, BothwelTs chamberlain, declared it in his 
confession, made just before his execution for Darnley's 
murder ; but it is certainly not in his confession as 
printed by Buchanan himself in the Detection. 

The fact that Mary did lodge in the Exchequer 
house between the nth and the end of September 
is testified to by Sir J. Forster, who says that she was 
busy there at the time about her revenues l ; although 
she must have gone sometimes to Holyrood, as we 
hear of her there sorting and arranging her finery for 
the coming christening, and ordering the new clothes 
for her courtiers. 2 Her husband, we are told, she 
'held in light estimation' now, and she had never 
even seen Lennox since Rizzio's death. 8 

On the 24th September Darnley seems to have 
come unexpectedly from Stirling, where he had been 
staying, to Edinburgh. Mary, when she heard of his 
coming, c purposely fled out of the chekker-hous and 
passed to the palace of Halyrudehous.' 4 Why she 
should have fled from the Exchequer if there was 
nothing wrong is not clear ; and although the posi- 
tive assertion of Mary's amour with Bothwell having 
commenced then and there depends entirely on 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. p. 128. 

1 She gave to Darnley some cloth of gold for a dress, to Murray a green 
suit, to Argyle red, and to Bothwell blue (Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. 
p. 131). 

* Ibid. p. 128. 

4 Hosack's quotation of Book of Articles. 


Buchanan's and Lennox's statements, it may have as 
well been then as later. Her subsequent demeanour 
before her council and the French ambassador de Croc, 
who had arrived in July, may be attributed either to 
conscious innocence or bold dissimulation. 

Darnley had found his position becoming more and 
more intolerable : he was deservedly scorned by his 
wife for his bodily viciousness and his mental insta- 
bility ; even Bothwell could do without him now ; and 
he declared to his father at Stirling on the 29th 
September his intention to fly to France in a ship 
which was then awaiting him. Lennox was shocked, 
and at once wrote to Mary warning her ; but he 
would have been even more shocked and angry if he 
had known, as we do, the depth of his son's folly. 1 
Seeing that Bothwell and Lethington had been recon- 
ciled, and that Murray, Athol, Huntly, and even 
Argyle were rapidly, in appearance at least, coming 
round to Mary's plans, 2 the foolish young man now 
endeavoured to raise an extreme Catholic counter 
conspiracy by appealing to the Pope, and denouncing 

1 De Croc tells the story, and he says that whilst Mary and the lords 
were now (October 1 566) quite united, they could do nothing with Darnley, 
who wished to command everything and everybody. No one took any 
notice of him, says de Croc, and he complained constantly to the latter. 
At last the Frenchman told him that if he would say what he had to 
complain of, he would speak to Mary and her council in his favour. * I 
want to fill the Bame position that I did when I was first married/ he 
replied. * That is quite impossible/ said de Croc j * you ought to have kept 
the place when you had it. You have offended the Queen, and you 
cannot expect she will give you power again. You ought to think your- 
self very fortunate that she honours you as she does, treating you as her 
husband, and providing you and your house with everything ' (LabanofF, 
vol. i. p. 375). 

1 The Queen had told Murray about the aid she was receiving from the 
Pope, and although it is difficult to believe that he would in any case 
have acquiesced in the establishment of popish predominance in Scotland, 
he must have been aware of the active negotiations being carried on with 
the Catholics at this period, the coming and going of papal envoys, the 


Mary's religious lukewarmness in consorting with 
heretics like Murray ; and he had the turpitude to 
claim for himself the purely Catholic aid that was 
to be sent to Scotland The idea was not without 
cunning, combined, as it was, with the intention to 
look to France instead of to Spain, and to make use 
of their national jealousy, in order to place him in the 
position of a rival to his wife's claims : to the crown 
of Scotland in right of his son, and to that of Eng- 
land in right of his mother. 

But his letters to the Pope had been intercepted, 
his tentative advances to France were laughed at ; and 
the poor creature, distracted and feeble of purpose, 
instead of embarking on his waiting ship, suddenly 
appeared at Holyrood at ttn o'clock at night of the 
day that his wife had received the letter saying that he 
was going to France (29th September). He was in a 
penitential mood ; but, in answer to Mary's reproaches 
and inquiries as to what he complained of, he would 
say nothing. Late as it was, she summoned a meeting 
of her council and nobles, with the French ambassador, 
to hear what her husband had to say for himself. 
She again, before them all, demanded the reason of 
his proposed flight ; and besought him, solemnly and 
with clasped hands, to say whether he had any fault to 
find with her. The lords likewise said that they saw 
he looked at them askance. Had they done anything 
to offend him or give reason for his flight ? Then 

constant messages to Spain and Spanish Flanders, and the close intimacy of 
all the Scottish envoys to London, even the Melvilles, with the Spanish 
ambassador there. Even the Scottish Protestants, disgusted at Elizabeth's 
attitude, appear for a time to have been willing to second Mary's plans, 
depending doubtless upon her solemn pledge to make no religious changes 
in her realm. 


the French ambassador, a stout Guisan, took him in 
hand, and lectured him roundly. If he was moved, 
said de Croc, by anything the Queen had done, it 
was his duty to her and to himself to say what it was ; 
if otherwise, his object in flying abroad could not fail 
to be reprehensible. Darnley remained pouting and 
silent for a long time ; but at length declared that he 
had no reason to allege for his proposed flight. Mary 
said she was satisfied with this ; and the rest of those 
present promised to bear witness to Darnley's declara- 
tion in her favour ; but the young man could do 
nothing graciously, and he skulked out of the room 
without kissing his wife, muttering as he went that it 
would be a long time ere she saw him again ; and 
before the night was passed news was brought to her 
that he still meant to sail away if he could. 

But he lacked resolution either to go or to stay ; and 
a few days afterwards, whilst the Queen was on the 
Border, he wrote begging de Croc to meet him and 
his father a few miles from Edinburgh. c I see/ 
writes the Frenchman, 'that he does not realise his 
position. He wishes the Queen to send for him, but 
I told him that he had left her without reason. The 
Queen, I said, was very good ; but there were very 
few wives who would send for him in such case. 
I see that he would like to temporise until after 
the christening, in order not to be obliged to be 
present at the ceremony. There are two things that, 
in my opinion, cause him to despair : the first is the 
reconciliation of the Queen with the lords, which 
makes him jealous, because the latter pay more court 
to the Queen than to him; and, as he is haughty 
and proud, he does not like foreigners to see this ; 


the second is that he knows that the person who may 
come from the Queen of England to be present at 
the baptism will take no notice of him, and he is 
afraid of receiving a slight. If he were well advised 
he would not presume too far, and he would avoid 
the trouble in which he now is/ * 

It is evident to us now, as it no doubt was to him, 
that Darnley was a lost man from this time. He 
had not a single friend, not even himself. Morton, 
and the other accomplices he had betrayed, were certain 
to kill him sooner or later, if no one else did so. 
Murray would not lift a finger to save a man who had 
never ceased to plot his destruction. Bothwell had 
no longer any need of his help, but on the contrary 
was now, of all men in the world, the most interested 
in his prompt removal from the living. Even in the 
not improbable event that Mary had, as she afterwards 
alleged, been forcibly induced to cede to BothwelTs 
lust in the first place, there is no doubt that she was 
now being swept off her feet by the rush of her passion 
for him ; and she, too, could not desire the prolonga- 
tion of the life of a husband who had disgusted and 
affronted her personally, had perversely thwarted her 
politically, had betrayed her interests, joined her enemies 
against her, and now seemed to stand fair in the path 
of her happiness as a woman, and her success as a 

Mary yearned for the full enjoyment of life ; she 
had always been pampered and flattered, and she 
resented any obstacle to the attainment of her ends. 
Her great dream of a Catholic Britain under her 
sceptre was never long absent from her mind, though 

1 De Croc to Catharine (LabanofF, vol. i. p. 374). 


the steadfastness and sacrifice needed for its realisation 
were sometimes hard for her pleasure-loving nature to 
endure. But when unnecessary and wanton difficulties 
were interposed by the very man whom she had chosen 
for her husband in order the better to carry through 
her policy ; when, in addition to this, the yoke-mate 
she had thought she loved, repelled and disgusted her ; 
then she would have not been self-indulgent Mary 
Stuart, bred in the Guisan school and at the court 
of France, if she had not, like another Pilate, washed 
her hands of him and left him to the scant mercy of 
his enemies, from whom, in any case, she would have 
been powerless to save him without sacrificing herself. 
And Mary Stuart never willingly sacrificed herself for 
any one, least of all for one who was in her way. 

Soon after the scene with Darnley at Holyrood 
above described, Mary started on her tour of assize 
and pacification on the Border, as had been settled two 
months before, the assize being fixed for the 8th 
October at Jedburgh. The earlier, and some of the 
later, of Mary's historians have been so unjust to her 
in the matter of this purely official journey to Jed- 
burgh, that a comparison of dates will prove how 
necessary it is to demand independent confirmation 
before accepting even her contemporary Buchanan's 
statements to Mary's detriment. He talks of her 
' flinging away like a mad woman to Jedburgh in the 
sharp time of winter ' when she heard that Bothwell 
had been wounded in a Border affray. * There, though 
she heard sure news of his life, yet her affection, im- 
patient of delay, could not temper itself, but needs 
must bewray her outrageous lust : and in an incon- 
venient time of year, despising all discommodities of 


the way and weather, and all dangers of thieves, she 
betook herself headlong to her journey, with such 
a company as no man of any honest degree would 
adventure his life and goods among them/ 1 This 
is an exceedingly unfair statement of the case, and 
that of Robertson is not much better. Bothwell, in 
execution of his office, had gone to the Liddesdale 
district a day or so previously, to bring the Border 
thieves into something like order. On the 7th 
October — the day before that fixed for the assize 
at Jedburgh — -Tie had sallied from his stronghold 
the Hermitage for the purpose of apprehending a 
notorious robber, one John Elliot of the Park, whom 
he shot with a pistol. The freebooter, wounded but 
not disabled, turned upon the earl, and, it was believed 
at the time, killed him. 2 The supposed corpse was 
placed in a cart and carried to Hermitage, the 
news being sent to meet the Queen, who was on the 
way to Jedburgh. She learned of his supposed death 
either on the way to, or on her arrival at, Jedburgh 
on the same day, 7th October ; and instead of rushing 
off, as alleged, to Hermitage to see her lover, who she 
soon learned was not dead, but only badly wounded in 
the thigh, she attended to the business of the assize 
until she adjourned it on the 1 5th October. 

On the day previous to this, 14th October, she 
rode out with Murray and her other nobles privately 
to witness a conference between the English warden of 
the eastern marches and her officers ; and on the 1 5 th, 
a week after his misfortune, she saw Bothwell for the 
first time, he having been carried from Hermitage to 

1 Buchanan's Detection. 

1 Scrope to Cecil, 8th October 1566 {Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. p. 137). 



Jedburgh in a horse litter, a journey of five-and-twenty 
or thirty miles. Bothwell seems to have remained at 
Jedburgh that night, and on the following morning 
Mary, escorted by Murray and others, rode to Her- 
mitage with Bothwell, returning to Jedburgh the same 
evening. 1 Now, there is nothing very shocking or 
compromising in this, certainly nothing indecorous. 
It is a proof of Mary's endurance that she could ride 
fifty or sixty miles over the moorland in a day ; but 
there was no reason why she should not have done it, 
even if Bothwell had never been her lover, for he was 
one of her principal and most trusted officers, General 
of the Marches, upon the business of which she was 
on the Border. The Liddesdale district, moreover, 
was still turbulent, and had next to be dealt with, 
and in pursuance of Mary's avowed intention to 
visit the whole of the Border her ride to Hermit- 
age to escort Bothwell on his return was quite a 
natural act. 

On the 2 1 st October Bothwell again came to Jed- 
burgh in a horse litter, and the intention was for Mary 
to travel thence to Hume Castle, and so along the 
frontier to Eyemouth. But the plan was upset by the 
sudden and dangerous illness of the Queen (on the 
17th October), who the day after BothwelTs arrival 
(22nd October) was believed to be in articulo mortis, as 

1 Mr. Andrew Lang appears to question Bothwell's visit to Jedburgh on 
the 15th. I know not on what ground, as Sir J. Forster, writing from 
Berwick on the 1 5th October, distinctly states that * Bothwell came this day 
to Jedburgh in a litter * 5 and writing again on the 23rd, the same officer 
mentions Bothwell's second visit thus : « The Earl of Bothwell came to 
Jedburgh on the 21st in a horse litter/ Bothwell does not appear to have 
returned to Hermitage after this, and he probably went to visit the Queen 
when he learned of her serious illness, which appears to have reached a crisis 
on the 20th or 2 1 st October {Foreign Calendar, vol. viii.). 


she was again on the 25th October. 1 Illness kept her 
at Jedburgh until the 15th November, Darnley re- 
maining, except for one day's tardy visit to his wife, 
sulky and neglected at Linlithgow, Glasgow, and 
Stirling the while ; and Mary, surrounded by Murray, 
Bothwell, Huntly, Hume, Lethington, and five hun- 
dred horsemen, then rode on her way to Dunbar and 
Edinburgh to prepare for the stately christening of her 
child. On her way she passed by Coldingham through 
a strip of English territory, where she was courteously 
greeted by the English general, 2 and on Halidon Hill 
heard the salute of all the ordnance on the walls of 
Berwick fired in her honour. * There have been many 
cumbers between these two realms,' she said, as she 
turned to Sir John Forster, the English warden, * but 
I will never give occasion for war between England 
and Scotland.' She charged the Border nobles, Hume, 
Bothwell, and Ker of Cessford, to keep order in their 
bounds, and then, knowing that it would give pleasure 
to the Englishman, she made a remark, a mere passing 
politeness it seemed — but it was the death-warrant of 
her husband. * She was,' she said, * a favourer of the 
Earl of Morton and his company.' 

The murder of Rizzio was forgiven that it might be 
avenged. The interests of every one demanded the 
removal of the unhappy young man who was so super- 
fluous ; what better way of getting rid of him than to 
pardon the Rizzio murderers, and let them work their 
will upon the accomplice who had betrayed them. If 

1 On the occasion of her second attack of what may have been some form 
of hysteria, she was thought actually to have died. Nau, in his account, 
says that Murray began to seize the plate, jewellery, and other valuables. 

* Melville tells rather an inconsistent story about Mary's horse and 
herself being viciously attacked by Sir J. Forster's horse at this interview. 


they failed, there was always Bothwell, with his great 
ambition to reach supremacy by the Queen's love for 
him ; nay, there was always Mary herself, loathing the 
man she had wedded, 1 and momentarily postponing 
even the ruling motive of her life to her passion for 
the virile ruffian who had subdued her by his strength. 
From the time of Mary's stay at Jedburgh Bothwell 
became all in all to her. During her grave illness, 
caused as she told Lethington by her grief at Darnley's 
conduct, the consort pursued his pleasure at Glasgow 
for days before thinking of coming to see her, and 
when he did so, on the 28 th October, he only stayed 
at Jedburgh one night, being dissatisfied with his 
welcome, 2 and then rode to Stirling. There were 
those about Mary who noted openly the contrast 
between her demeanour to her husband and to Both- 
well. Buchanan, as usual, makes the worst of it, 
calling the Queen's treatment of Bothwell * dishonour- 
able to themselves, and infamous among the people ' ; 
and says that the earl was, c as it were in triumph over 
the king, gloriously removed in the sight of the 
people into the Queen's own lodging, and there laid 
in the lower parlour, directly under the chamber 
where she lay sick. There, while they both were yet 
feeble and unhealed, she of her disease, and he of his 
wound, the Queen being very weak of her body, yet 
visited him daily. And when they were both a little 
recovered, and their strengths not yet fully settled, 

1 Lethington wrote to Beaton at the time : ' It is a heartbreak for her to 
think that he should be her husband, and how to be free of him she sees 
no way. I see betwixt them no agreement, nor appearance that they will 
agree thereafter. At least, I am assured that it has been her mind this 
good while, and it is as I write. How soon, or in what manner it may 
change, God knows * (Laings History of Scotland). 

1 Diurnal of Occurrents, 


they returned to their old pastime again, and that so 
openly as they seemed to fear nothing more than lest 
their wickedness should be unknown.' 1 Other less 
violent authorities agree that the Queen's conduct at 
Jedburgh was f very suspicious,' and * that the world 
in those same days began to speak of it.' 2 Mary as 
we have seen was, however, seriously ill most of the 
time that Bothwell was at Jedburgh, and the earl 
himself was disabled with a smashed thigh, so that, 
however much the pair may have been in love with 
each other, their circumstances were hardly favourable 
to successful gallantry. 

Mary rode along the Border by Tantallon to Craig- 
millar, where she arrived on the 20th November, still 
ailing, — fretting with grief it was said, — wishing con- 
stantly that she were dead. On her way — at Kelso — 
indeed, she had hinted at suicide. Reading a letter 
she had received from Darnley, she said (according to 
Calderwood), * unless she was freed of him, one way or 
another, she would put a hand into herself.' 3 ' Unless 
she were quit of the king by one means or another she 
could never have a good day in her life, and rather 
than that to be the instrument of her own death.' 
We have seen that five days before she arrived at 
Craigmillar Mary told Forster that she was inclined to 
favour the refugee Morton and his company, so that 
the suggestion of this being made part of a bargain, of 
which the other part was the Queen's divorce from 
Darnley, could not have arisen so spontaneously 
amongst the nobles, or have come so suddenly upon 

1 Buchanan's Detection (1721), p. 13. 

2 Book of Articles in Hosack. 

3 Also in Buchanan's Detection, and in Jebb. 


Mary at Craigmillar, as is represented in the document 
drawn up by Leslie three years afterwards, to be 
signed by Huntly and Argyle, for the inculpation of 
Murray and the exculpation of the Queen. According 
to my view, the precise steps by which the project for 
the elimination of Darnley was matured are of quite 
secondary importance. By all the rules and practice 
of Scottish politics of the day he was certain to be 
removed, with or without the expressed connivance of 
the Queen ; and it is quite probable, as the declaration 
says, that the proposal of Murray, Argyle, Lethington, 
Huntly, and Bothwell, at Jedburgh and Craigmillar, 
that the Rizzio murderers should be pardoned, was 
principally urged upon and accepted by the Queen 
because it was likely to expedite the process by which 
she might be liberated from her husband; otherwise 
there was no reason for uniting the two proposals. 
It is certain that the nobles at Jedburgh in October 
had signed a bond of union of some sort against 
Darnley, and which of them it was who took the lead 
in formulating a plan at Craigmillar does not matter. 

According to the exculpatory document, which is 
the main authority on the subject, 1 Lethington 
answered Argyle, when the latter remarked that he 
did not know how the Queen was to be divorced from 
Darnley : * My lord, care ye not, we shall find the 
means well enough to make her quit of him/ When 
they all went to Mary's apartment to broach the 
matter to her, Lethington was the spokesman, and 
said they could so arrange a divorce that Mary ' need 

1 Scottish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 597. It must be recollected that this 
" r f or 

document was drafted mainly for the purpose of inculpating Murray and 
Lethington in Darnley's murder, and that every effort was made in it to 
show that Mary was not a consenting party to any illegal act being committed. 


not meddle therein/ 'It was/ he said, 'necessary, 
both for the sake of the Queen and the country ; for 
(Darnley) troubled her Grace, as us all, and would not 
cease until he did her some other evil turn, when her 
Highness would be much perplexed to put a remedy 
thereto.' Mary is stated to have replied that she 
might consent, but on two conditions : first, that the 
divorce should be a lawful one, and next that it was 
not to the prejudice of her child, otherwise she would 
endure all torments and perils that might ensue to 
her. Bothwell remarked that he had no doubt the 
divorce might be made without any prejudice to the 
prince, and instanced his own case, his father having 
been divorced from his mother without any prejudice 
to his own succession. 

It was suggested by one of them that Mary and her 
divorced husband should live in different parts of the 
country, or Darnley might reside abroad. Mary 
replied to this that perhaps he might alter his mind, 
and that it would be better that she should leave 
Scotland (as she had wished to do when her child 
was born) ; but Lethington had his pregnant answer 
ready : « Madam, care ye not. We are here the 
principal of your Majesty's nobility and council ; who 
shall find the means that your Majesty shall be quit of 
him without prejudice of your son ; and, albeit my 
lord of Murray here present, be little less scrupulous 
for a Protestant than your Grace is for a papist, I 
am sure he will look through his fingers thereat, and 
will behold our doings, saying nothing to the same/ * 

1 According to Lennox's statement there seems to have been another 
subsequent conference of the lords at Craigmillar on the subject, in which 
Darnley s death, if he resisted arrest, was agreed upon (Andrew Lang). 


* I will have you do nothing/ the Queen is represented 
as saying, ' whereby any spot may be laid to my 
honour or conscience ; and therefore I pray you rather 
let the matter be in the state it is, abiding till God in 
His goodness put a remedy thereto, than ye try to do 
me service, that may possibly turn to my hurt and 
displeasure/ * Leave it all to us/ said Lethington, 

* and you shall see nothing but what the parliament 
will approve of.' * 

Here we see Mary in the attitude which she 
frequently assumed towards the various plans for the 
murder of Elizabeth in after years. She was acute 
and experienced ; she knew the significance of diplo- 
matic language as well as any one living ; and it is 
incredible that she should not have understood per- 
fectly what Lethington meant. The avoidance of any 
direct responsibility for violent acts was one of the 
primary points of a sovereign's trade. She had learned 
all that years before. Do Mary's thick-and-thin 
defenders expect that her accusers could in any case 
produce her plain compromising acquiescence in writ- 
ing, giving her orders for a crime like the murder 
of her husband? Such a demand proves an entire 
ignorance of the procedure then usually adopted. 
Sovereigns were always safeguarded by perfectly well 
understood protests on their part that nothing illegal 
must be done, and by an avoidance on the part of 
their instruments of over -plain speaking in their 
presence. But they knew what was meant, neverthe- 

1 In answer to this document Murray strenuously denied to Elizabeth 
that he had ever agreed or subscribed at Craigmillar to any deed for the 
murder of Darnley, or for any unlawful end, although he says he was 
earnestly pressed thereto by the Queen's orders. Murray, however, was 
clever at avoiding personal responsibility. 


less. It is an insult to the intelligence of readers to 
attribute either ignorance or lack of penetration to 
Mary in this matter. Elizabeth, Catharine, Philip, 
and most other princes of the time connived at out- 
rage and murder over and over again by their agents ; 
knowing broadly what was intended, but never being 
told in plain brutal words, in order that, come what 
might, their ermine might not be too openly soiled. 
They thus usually avoided scandal; and Mary was 
unable to do so, not because she was less cautious 
than they, but because her councillors were at deadly 
feud amongst themselves for the spoil ; and because 
she offended them all by falling in love with one of 
them, the rudest, and marrying him. 

Mary went to Stirling from Edinburgh for her 
child's baptism on the 12th December 1566. * Both- 
well was appointed to receive the ambassadors ; and 
all things for the christening are at his appointment ; 
and the same scarcely liked by the rest of the nobility.* * 
Darnley, at the urgent request of the French ambas- 
sador and Guzman, had joined the Queen before she 
went to Stirling, and he remained in the castle during 
the festivities and ceremonies of the baptism, though 
he took no part in any of them ; and, indeed, was not 
seen by the ambassadors. He prayed several times that 
de Croc would come and speak to him, but the French 
ambassador was disgusted with him, and refused to do 
so ; and when Moret, too late for the baptism, arrived 
at Stirling from the Duke of Savoy, he also was per- 
suaded by Mary not to see the consort. In this 
his utter isolation his father warned him by private 
letter from Glasgow that he had been informed of an 

1 Foreign Calendar y vol. viii. 


friends should be willing to declare for her in England 
when the opportune moment came. The first recom- 
mendation that Darnley possessed as a husband for her 
was that his mother influenced a large number of the 
Catholics of the north of England ; and it must not be 
supposed that a stateswoman as ambitious and able as 
Mary was willing to lose this necessary support when 
the pending disappearance of her husband should take 
place. Robert Melville, though a « political' Pro- 
testant, receiving pay from Cecil, was nevertheless, like 
other Scotsmen of his class and time, zealously desir- 
ous of forwarding the views of his sovereign, whatever 
they might be ; and he took care that Mary's share 
in the matrimonial discord should be presented in a 
favourable light. He saw Guzman in London at the 
end of October, when Mary was on the Border, and 
after a long talk with him the ambassador wrote to 
his master that * the Queen (Mary) is so popular with 
good people in this country that they lay the whole 
blame on the husband.' The Pope, the Spanish 
Governor of Flanders, and other leading Catholics 
were asked to write to the disunited couple, urging 
harmony upon them ; but there was never a question 
for a moment on the part of the English Catholics, 
and much less on that of Spain and Rome, of trans- 
ferring their support from Mary to Darnley or his 
mother in case of a separation. 

Shortly afterwards Melville told Guzman that Mary 
had written to Cardinal Lorraine, saying that she had 
friends in this country who would help her to her 
rights, and that the Cardinal had replied, dissuading 
her from any such course as that suggested, the French 
ambassador having urged her to the same effect. It is 


very doubtful that Mary would have written thus to 
her uncles. They were French again now, and for the 
time strongly opposed to Mary's becoming Queen of 
England, which they knew she could only do under 
Spanish auspices, to the detriment of France. The 
active and cordial understanding now being cemented 
by Mary personally with the Pope, the Spaniards, and 
the English Catholics was as usual being combatted by 
Elizabeth and Catharine in their characteristic fashion. 
Elizabeth, for her part, began to discourse amiably 
about the desirability of an arrangement with Mary as 
to the succession ; and to raise a fresh issue she offered 
to make an alteration in the still unratified Treaty of 
Edinburgh in a sense favourable to Mary's pretensions. 
In order to bring Mary into a tractable frame of mind, 
too, poor Lady Katharine Grey's claim to the heirship 
of England was much talked about, and Catharine, 
as her contribution to the defeat of Mary's Spanish 
objects, did her best to promote Katharine Grey's 
cause in parliament ; until finally Melville, on the 
advice of the Spaniard, and supported by him, asked 
Elizabeth to defer the whole question of the succession 
for the present. The Queen of England once more 
took up the Archduke, and gave out unhesitatingly 
that she had quite made up her mind to marry him. 

But such futile dust-throwing was quite in the order 
of things, and the old tricks did very little harm to 
Mary now. People had got to understand that Eliza- 
beth would neither marry nor declare a successor if she 
could help it, and the English Catholics were becoming 
daily more convinced that if England were ever to 
revert to the faith, it must be by means of a wide- 
spread revolt, supported from abroad, and headed by a 


popular leader who could command such support. 
After Darnley's inept vagaries and vacillations it was 
evident that he was useless for such a purpose, and 
there only remained Mary. Of this she received full 
assurance both from the English Catholics and from 
Rome and Spain during the last few months of 1566, 1 
and it was not until she knew that she would receive 
the same help without Darnley as with him that she 
abandoned him to his enemies. 

On the very day that Darnley fled from Stirling to 
his father's castle at Glasgow (24th December 1566) 
Mary signed the pardon of Morton and all the Rizzio 
murderers. Even the most brutal of them all — with 
the exception, perhaps, of George Douglas — Andrew 
Ker of Faldonside, was forgiven. 2 All of them were 
free to come to Scotland, and if they could, or would, 
to sate their vengeance on the miserable simpleton 
who had betrayed them. He stayed sick in Glasgow, 
whilst Mary, free now even from the overlook- 
ing of Murray, who was entertaining Bedford at St. 
Andrews, stayed for a week or so at Drummond 
Castle, Tullibardine, and Callander, in complete aban- 
donment to her love for Bothwell. 8 Mary must have 

1 See many letters from Cecil's spies, Cockburn, Rogers, and others, in 
Foreign Calendar, vol. viii., and Guzman's letters in Spanish Calendar. 
The latter, as well as his colleague in Paris, Frances de Alava, warned 
Mary of Darnley 's plans to outbid her with the Catholic powers ; which 
to some extent she knew by his intercepted letters and by the delation 
of spies. 

* Appendix to Hay Fleming's Mary Stuart. 

8 Buchanan's Detection. The Book of Articles (Hosack) also says in con- 
nection with these visits : • In what order they (i*. Mary and Bothwell) 
were chambered during their stay in these two houses (i.e. Drummond 
Castle and Tullibardine) many found fault with but dared not reprove. 
How lascivious also their behaviour was, it was very strange to behold, 
notwithstanding the news of the King's grievous infirmity, who was 
departed to Glasgow and there fallen in deadly sickness.' This sickness 
was suspected at the time to have been caused by poison. It is, of course, 


known, in effect, that her husband was doomed. She 
had ceased to feel any affection for him ; his removal, 
she had now satisfied herself, would not injure her 
political aims, but rather the contrary. There had 
been some plausible excuse for her marriage with 
Darnley, even before she conceived any passion for 
him ; and if he had been a good partner and a stable 
character he might have helped her powerfully with 
the English Catholics. But what possible pretext 
could there be for Mary's attachment to Bothwell, 
other than her passion for him ? He was a recently 
married man, whose close association with her could 
only tend to her personal discredit ; he was disliked 
by the Scottish nobles, who would naturally be alienated 
from the Queen by the favour she extended to him ; 
he was a Protestant, and as such would deprive Mary 
of that which she had striven for so long, namely, the 
support of the English Catholics and of Spain ; he was 
a determined enemy to England, and would arouse the 
opposition of Elizabeth and her friends. He had, in 
fact, hardly a recommendation as a source of political 
strength to Mary, either as a minister or as a husband ; 
and only personal and passing infatuation for him could 
have blinded so able and ambitious a stateswoman as 
Mary to the fatal sacrifice she was making in taking 
him to her arms. 

Rumours came to her of evil designs on the part of 
Darnley and his father upon her child or herself ; and 
even from abroad warnings reached her of impending 

not improbable that poison may have been administered, as he was suddenly 
seized with illness almost immediately after he left Stirling j but his malady 
at Glasgow was of a virulent eruptive character, either true smallpox or 
syphilis. Bedford calls it smallpox, and says that Mary sent her physician 
to him {Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii.). 


dangers from the same quarter. According to one 
story, when Mary sent a messenger to Glasgow to 
offer to visit her husband in his sickness, the latter 
gave a reply, to the effect that she must please herself: 
* but this much ye shall declare unto her, that I wish 
Stirling to be Jedburgh, and Glasgow to be Hermitage, 
and I the Earl of Bothwell as I lie here, and then I 
doubt not but she would be quickly with me un- 
desired.' 1 That such a message was really delivered 
would appear improbable, in view of Mary's travelling 
to Glasgow immediately afterwards, and Darnley's 
reconciliation with her on her arrival ; but the fact 
of its being set forth by Darnley's father, whilst yet 
the events were recent, proves that at this time, the 
middle of January 1567, the amours of Mary and 
Bothwell were fairly well known, and that one other, 
and a crowning reason for discontent was believed in 
by the Lennoxes, which would justify the evil designs 
said to be harboured by Darnley and his father against 
the Queen. 

Mary carried her infant from Stirling to Edinburgh 
on the 14th January. About the 19th, on the eve of 
her departure to stay with her sick husband, she was 
visited by Archibald Douglas, the cousin of Morton, 
who since his return to Scotland had been staying at 
his cousin's (William Douglas's) house of Whitting- 
hame. Archibald's message was a strange one. It 
was to the effect that Bothwell and Lethington had 
visited Morton at Whittinghame, to ask him to join 
them in the conspiracy to kill Darnley, and that he 
had consented to do so, if the Queen would give him 
a signed warrant acquiescing in the act. We need 

1 Lennox MSS. y quoted by Andrew Lang. 


not suppose that Douglas put it thus bluntly to Mary. 
It is almost certain that he would not do so; but, 
however he put it, Mary at once, and in accordance 
with all the rules of the kingly tradition, refused to 
give her signature, or even to discuss the matter at 
all. 1 But though she refused, and Morton con- 
sequently declined to sign the murder bond, as also 
did Murray with his usual cleverness in avoiding 
personal responsibility, the fact of the message from 
Morton being delivered proves that when Mary started 
the next day, 20th January, for Glasgow, she knew that 
an association of some of her nobles existed, whose 
object was the murder of her husband. 2 But she went, 
nevertheless, to bring him from the security of his 
father's castle and the Lennox followers to a place 
where none could stand between him and those she 
knew were pledged to murder him. 

The interminable wrangle as to the genuineness or 
otherwise of the compromising letters found oppor- 
tunely in the casket taken by Dalgleish from Edin- 
burgh Castle seems to lose its importance beside these 
unquestioned facts. If Mary wrote every line of 

1 Archibald Douglas's letter to Mary during her captivity in England, 
mentioning this answer to his message (Malcolm Laing's History of 

2 She must have known some time before this indication, even if we 
admit that she was dense enough at Craigmillar not to understand what 
Lethington meant ; for on the x 8th January, the day before Douglas saw 
her, Guzman in London, writing to his King, says : ' The displeasure of 
the Queen of Scotland with her husband is carried so far, that she was 
approached by some who wanted to induce her to allow a plot to be formed 
against him, which she refused ; but she nevertheless shows him no affec- 
tion. They tell me, even, that she has tried to take away some of his 
servitors ; and for some time past finds him no money for his ordinary ex- 
penditure. This is very unfortunate for them both, although it cannot be 
denied that the King has given grounds for it by what he has done. They 
ought to come to terms j as if they do not look out foj themselves, they 
are in a bad way 1 {Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. i. p. 6x3). This must 
refer to the period when Darnley was staying at Stirling in December. 


the letters, it would prove that she was a heartless, 
lascivious wanton, who had forgotten mercy and 
humanity in her adulterous passion ; but it would not 
make her one whit more morally guilty of Darnley's 
death than we know her to have been from the irre- 
sistible logic of facts and probabilities. It must be 
admitted, in extenuation, that, even if she had wished 
to do so, she could not for very long have prevented 
the removal of the man who was in everybody's way, 
and who had succeeded in alienating every individual 
interest. But it is equally evident that she did not 
try, her main object being to avoid the personal com- 
promise of herself in the matter. 1 Before she started 
for Glasgow Mary wrote to .Archbishop Beaton in 
Paris, a letter full of resentment and bitterness towards 
the man she was about to betray. * Always we per- 
ceive him occupied and busy enough to have inquisition 
of our doings, which, God willing, shall aye be such as 
none shall have occasion to be offended with them, or 
to report of us any ways but honourably : howsoever, 
he his father and their fautors speak, who we know 
lack no goodwill to make us have ado, if their power 
be equivalent to their minds.' 2 

As Mary rode towards Glasgow she was met four V 

miles from that place by Darnley's gentleman, Craw- 
ford, who had come to conduct her to the castle. On 

1 In illustration of Mary's character, and confirmation of this view, it 
should be noted that when she discussed with the nobles at Craigmillar 
their suggestions for ridding her of Darnley, and Lethington gave his 
sinister hint, the Queen's anxiety was not expressed on account of any 
suffering or wrong to be done to her husband, but only that no spot should 
be laid on her honour and conscience. She willed the lords to leave things 
as they were, not out of pity to save Darnley from capture or death, but 
because, whilst the lords thought they were serving her, it ' may possibly 
turn out to my hurt or displeasure' {Scottish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 599). 

* Labanorf, vol. i. p. 39S. 



the way Crawford presumed to say, on his master's 
behalf, that it was not pride but bodily illness that 
had prevented the consort from coming to meet and 
conduct her ; and also because he did not dare to 
venture into her presence after the hard words she 
spoke to his servant Cunningham at Stirling. Mary's 
reply was haughty and repellant. * There is no recipe 
against fear,' she said ; * he would not be afraid if he 
were not culpable'; and when Crawford replied that 
Darnley only wished that the secrets of every creature's 
heart were written on their faces, the Queen turned 
angrily to him, and asked if he had been instructed to 
say anything else. 'No, your Majesty,' he replied. 
1 Then hold your peace,' said Mary. 

Bothwell himself appears to have ridden with the 
Queen out of Edinburgh, accompanying her until 
the next day, 21st January ; l and late in the evening 
of that day she probably arrived at her destination. 
Lennox was ill and in disgrace, with good reason, and 
did not see the Queen ; whilst Darnley was still in 
bed, but convalescent, apparently very weak, and an 
uninviting object to look upon, disfigured, as he 
must have been, at that stage of his malady. There 
was little demonstration of affection on the part of 
Mary as she entered. What was the meaning, she 
asked him, of his letters, complaining of the cruelty of 
* some ' people ? He had good cause to complain, he 
replied, as she would admit when she was well advised. 
Then he whimpered that she was the cause of his 

1 There are manv different statements as to the exact dates of Mary's 
departure from Edinburgh and her arrival in Glasgow. The whole question, 
as touching the authenticity of the long ' casket letter/ is fully discussed by 
Andrew Lang, who arrives at the same conclusion as I had already done 
from separate premises. 


illness. * You ask me what I mean by the cruelty 
specified in my letters. It proceedeth from you only, 
who will not accept my offers and repentance/ He 
knew he had acted badly in some things, he said. But 
he pleaded his youth, and reminded her that she had 
forgiven others for worse things than he had been 
guilty of. ' You will say that ye have forgiven me 
divers times.' But he had lacked counsel, he pleaded, 
and though he had fallen twice or thrice, yet he was 
repentant now, and had been chastised. * If I have 
made any fail, that ye but think a fail, howsoever it 
be, I crave your pardon, and protest that I shall never 
fail again. I desire no other thing but that we may 
be together as husband and wife, and if ye will not 
consent, I desire never to rise forth of this bed.' 

And so, tearfully, the poor wretch maundered on. 
God knows, he said, how he had been punished for 
worshipping his wife as he had done. If she had only 
let him come to her and tell his grievances frankly, he 
would never make a confidant of any one else. But 
he had been obliged by her coldness to keep his 
troubles in his own breast, and this had brought him 
to his present state. Mary replied that this attitude 
of his was seemly ; she was sorry for his illness, and 
would seek a remedy as soon as she might. * But why 
did you want to sail away in the English ship ? ' she 
asked. He denied that he really meant to go, but 
said he had good reason for going, seeing how badly 
he had been treated. Then she opened up another 
rankling wound. How about Heigate's story that 
Darnley had learned that the lords at Craigmillar had 
proposed a plan to her, at her own instance, for his 
capture, which, however, she had refused to sign? 


* Well,' replied Darnley, * I was told so by the Laird 
of Minto,' but, he continued, he could not think that 
his own wife would do him harm, if others would ; and 
he wanted to be near her, but she always found, he 
said, some pretext for retiring to her own apartments, 

* and would never abide with him past two hours at 
once.' Mary was still cold and distant, and Darnley 
began to grumble again. Why had she brought a 
horse litter with her ? he asked ; to which she replied 
that she had brought it that he might travel the easier. 
He did not want to travel in such cold weather, he 
said. He was too ill to do so. She would take 
him to Craigmillar, so that she might be near him and 
their child, she replied. Well, * if they might be at 
bed and board as husband and wife, and she to leave 
him no more, he would go where she pleased — without 
this he would not go.' He must be purged of his 
sickness before they came together, said Mary. 

She then asked if he bore ill-will to any one. No, 
he replied, he c hated no man, and loved all alike.' 
The next question, like the former one put by the 
Queen, seems to prove that she was trying to discover 
if he had any grudge against Bothwell. * How do you 
like Lady Reres ? ' to which Darnley gave an unsym- 
pathetic but non-committal reply ; and then, harking 
back to his own safety, he prayed his wife not to 
'move any against him, as he would stir none 
against her. Let them work together, or it would be 
bad for both. It was rather late in the day for him to 
urge this, as no doubt Mary thought, for she told him 
that it was he who had been in fault, which was quite 
true. And so, with this half-reconciliation, it was 
settled that Darnley should leave Glasgow with his 


wife. He and his friends in Glasgow were deeply 
distrustful still. * They thought he was going more as 
a prisoner than a husband,' the only safeguard being 
the word of the Queen, which, if they had noticed it, 
even as recorded by themselves, was not very emphatic 
or binding. * Yet he would put himself in her hands, 
if she cut his throat/ replied Darnley to his friends. 1 

The long and important letter (No. 2), said to have 
been written by Mary from Glasgow to Bothwell, 
gives an account of this interview strikingly similar to 
that given by Darnley to Crawford. The resemblance 
is too close to be accidental, and would seem to 
indicate that this portion at least of the letter was 
added subsequently by a forger. The consideration 
of whether the whole letter was a forgery or not is 
outside the scope of this book, 2 though I may express 
my own belief that Mary did write a letter of some 
sort to Bothwell at the time. There are many pas- 
sages in the letter as published which could only serve 
the object of the forgers — namely, a desire to inculpate 
Mary in the murder. * He would not let me go, but 
would have me watch with him. I made as though I 
thought all to be true, that I would think upon it, and 
have excused myself from sitting up with him this 
night, for he sayeth that he sleepeth not. You have 
never heard him speak better nor more humbly ; and 
if I had not proof of his heart of wax, and that mine 
were not as a- diamond, no stroke but coming from 
your hand could make me but to have pity on him. 
But fear not, for the plan shall continue to death. 

1 Crawford's account of the interview as related by Darnley (Scottish 
Calendar, vol. ii. p. 313). 
* The whole subject is exhaustively discussed by Lang, Tytler, etc. 


Remember also, in recompense thereof, not to suffer 
yours to be won by that false race that would do no 
less to yourself. I think they (i.e. Darnley and Lady 
Bothwell) have been at school together. He hath 
always the tear in his eye. He saluteth every man, 
even to the meanest, and maketh much of them, that 
they may take pity of him.' 

If these words and others hinting at Darnley's 
danger from Mary and Bothwell were written by the 
Queen herself, there would have been no need for the 
forgers to have added the comparatively innocent 
account of her interview with her husband. The 
passage about 'cursed be this pocky fellow that 
troubleth me so much,' containing also offensive 
allusions to the poor creature's state, are certainly 
not such as Mary would be likely to write, and I am 
inclined to believe that the letter was concocted out of 
a much more cautiously worded epistle, by the aid of 
the notes or headings that are now incorporated in it. 
Even if we eliminate this, the most damning of the 
letters produced against Mary, and regard it as a 
forgery throughout, my contention is that her moral 
guilt for the murder remains the same. She knew 
that the lords were banded together to kill her hus- 
band, and she brought him out of safety, as she alone 
was able to do, and placed him within reach of his 
destroyers. He was doomed in any case ; and her 
complicity, tacit or overt, in his death would have had 
little or no influence in her political position but for 
the jealousy of the nobles at her connection with 
Bothwell, and their fear of the Queen whilst he was 
by her side. 

Mary had intended carrying her husband to Craig- 

KIRK-O f -FIELD 359 

miliar. He was sensitive as to being seen in his 
disfigured condition. He wore a silken covering over 
his face, and wished to take a course of baths before 
appearing publicly. The Lennox people at Glasgow 
objected to Craigmillar, and urged that the consort 
should be taken to Holyrood. This would not suit 
the conspirators, and it was suggested that Hamilton 
House, just outside the walls of Edinburgh, where the 
University now stands, would be a fitting place. It 
was said that that side of the city was more salubrious 
than the low-lying palace of Holyrood. But the 
wicked old Archbishop Hamilton, and his nephew 
Lord Claude, were living there at the time, and would 
not vacate it for the accommodation of the enemy and 
rival of their house; besides which, according to at 
least one confession, the Archbishop was well aware of 
the murder plot, and would hardly relish the idea of 
his brother's palace being blown up. 

Either for this reason or some other, Bothwell and 
his accomplice, Sir James Balfour, had during Mary's 
absence in Glasgow thought of a much more con- 
venient place for the committal of the crime. The 
ruined Dominican church, standing in a field adjoining 
Hamilton House, possessed, still attached to it, the 
old conventual quadrangle of lodgings, of which the 
principal and most habitable was a small house abut- 
ting on the town-wall, through which a door led into 
a narrow by-lane. The house, built over an arched 
crypt, contained two principal rooms, both very small, 
one over the other. 1 When Darnley found himself 

1 The narrative of the crime given here is condensed from the con- 
fused, and in many cases contradictory, evidence of Paris {Pafners iTEtat, 
Teulet), Powry, Bowton, Hay of Talla, Nelson, etc. ; Buchanan, Keith, 

lajtc:. iEt« tru noast msceai o s tr £iamihur. 3jiik ic 

zttcet f navt a ni!.i:; re ^ re* it cr>ternDi: was dws- 

coim. Hi -was insn/irer tcm ol tat ~is: January 

t 'r oemr iQH^eL i: tnt Ernrinan:, ^mirr nar Iku i. 

snnmnausr" rui'msner tor r.Tn. tnt wwer nr jir'miir 

ioc- roui : imiernearr bera^ snniizrr jnrsr be a ied- 

roar for tnt ^wa. rr Tmicr. men. ai£ stem or tne 

Tbss^st' -gnr 5riaaT. tnt ^tr ami *rtt Jfinarr. 1 

Tncrt -was :. ~oa~ jrarnrtg direr: from tns lower ruzxm 

vzz r tnt oiz croacranjrit. *nr another inn the fnrtngp.f 

^zrccr. at tnt KJ.ii . Tvnrrt Aiar%, wt art triid. talked 

am sanr xvitr tor szmtrv !Laa; Icrrs. 

?rorr tnt m u in eji t XtomicT smsixi: tne aom- 

aescrtec cnsLorang-it tnt snanmr or tnt Tmapscy nrwr.r. 
n. ovrr ms nsad. Botnwst and Sir lams BidfiiEr 
GTTtamet: £ait>Iicatt keys xr aL the noors : it martgrs 
tut ^enrraer Pans HinvrL tnan rr Sir Jams har them 
zee — notr. statements art mack. T^t mar the am.Tr.,, 
tnc. tht xcnfnstr. and mutually r miirariiraxri Tnmmr 
rwa-'u o: wnich ?ari&. ionr aferrorik. -was so Jarisfc 
ir surnt xr tnt risk. "V « know thai the men wi& 
S4j itcc tnt none not Bntirwell, hs brnther-?m-*jzir 
Huntn\ Att^Ie. XcthinrtDn. and yrohabnr Sir Jama 
Batfnur. Ivlarror am: Murray zomrmv&x knew *L 
anrur: it. nor ^wcrt tnr raiTTinu* xd rommir themserrcs, 

am 3Lam£- , J>nr^ "» i.*ttEfk, J'rrnpr Cjuoutor^ td- vili ; \iarrV J wn *i 
n jteztot m fir oar «4itd tRr cnine_ latanofi, td*. ii. ; tnr i/nar 
I'avr*- niintac m - Aiutrrw Xanr- . anc in* Tannm cj » * m f| m , made h ^ Mi ir 
tic CommjanoL a: Yoit, Zcetxut. rjticnrttr-^ Italic vn^ iL^ mt) Domcaz 

- *VT* as tDtL hod tit? w&Ii* a "thr t'lumWny mc Hal! wui funudnd 
-witt imt lajie-'U'i tatn mm tnt Gomoiif ant of wnom. HunLh-, wr» m 
jmj ' i tt- tlir murar^ after tmrir rrrolt : witt: yg ivgi piMtunB^ wnA girM. 
vetvc: cnarv anc t 6ns tt'tyi state bed. In Damtrv'f tuoil there «v a 
eaiL in- tiit arte or d&f bra, harir«g. as Nelson, Danilrr i n^rL ay^ a Jdot 
taken fnm- n; i - r** .« tist house as its cover. 


carefully withholding their signatures, and providing 
alibis for themselves. 1 

On Thursday or Friday, 6th and 7th February, 
Bothwell enlisted the men who were to perform his 
part of the task. According to their own confessions 
they were naturally loath to engage in such a deed, 
but were overborne by their master. In the mean- 
while Mary was treating her convalescent husband 
with unwonted kindness, visiting him daily ; and on 
Friday, 7th February, the doomed man wrote a 
cheerful little letter to his father, thanking God for 
his wife's renewed love for him, 'who hath all this 
while, and yet doth, use herself like a natural and 
loving wife/ 2 

On the following day, Saturday, Mary having slept 
at Kirk-o'-Field on Friday, she had her velvet bed 
taken away from the lower room and a poorer bed 
put into its place, 8 saying that the state bed should 
serve as a renewed bridal bed for her and her recon- 
ciled husband. One note of alarm was sounded in the 
midst of this harmony. Lord Robert Stuart, Mary's 
base brother, Earl of Orkney, seems to have whis- 
pered to Darnley that the latter was in danger and 
should fly. Instead of doing so, he weakly told Mary. 
Upon this is founded by Mary's enemies a story to 
the effect that she urged Bothwell thereupon to bring 
Lord Robert and Darnley together, and raise a quarrel 
between them, so that Darnley might be killed without 

1 Murray left Edinburgh for St. Andrews on Sunday, 9th February. 
Paris says that Bothwell told him that Murray would « neither help nor 
hinder." See confession in Teulet's Papiers cTEtat. 

* Lennox Papers, Lang. 

3 Nelson's deposition is the authority for this curious proof of Mary's 
Scottish economy. Paris also makes her send him on the last night for a 
valuable fur coverlet that was at Kirk-o'-Field. 


compromising any one very seriously. On Sunday 
night Mary stayed late at Kirk-o'-Field, affectionately 
chatting with her husband ; but in the course of their 
loving talk she dropped a sinister hint that just a year 
had passed since Rizzio's murder ; and when she had 
gone Darnley, in the hearing of his pages, expressed 
his uneasiness that she had recollected it, for he at 
least had not forgotten her threat over Rizzio's grave. 
But by and by a message was brought to her that she 
had promised to honour with her presence that night 
at Holyrood the marriage-feast of one of her French 
servants, Bastien, and a favourite maid who had 
been a confidante of her first amours with Bothwell. 
Murray told Guzman afterwards that she had petted 
and fondled Darnley on that last night, and had given 
him a ring as a token before she left him for ever, and 
then, turning away, she traversed by torchlight the 
quiet streets of her capital to the wedding-feast. But 
of the nuptial gaiety she soon was tired, and went to 
her own apartments and to such rest as might be 
vouchsafed to her. Whilst she was charming her 
husband with her sweetness in the upper chamber, 
Bowton, Ormiston, Hay of Talla, and perhaps another 
of BothwelTs men, piled the powder in the lower room 
where the Queen had slept ; and when Darnley, 
having sung a psalm and drunk a cup of wine to his 
servants, one of whom only, Taylor, slept in his 
chamber, had retired to his fine velvet bed, wrapped in 
a velvet and sable gown, all was ready for the tragedy, 
and many ears awaited the coming boom that would 
tell of murder. 

Those who afterwards related the miserable story 
were mostly Bothwell's men, for Murray's only need 


wa9 to inculpate Mary and her lover, and all other 
accomplices were spared by him out of policy. But 
there must have been at least two parties besides those 
who laid the powder. Lethington and Huntly must 
have had separate gangs to do other work — to guard 
the approaches, to fire the train — and probably the 
Douglases, under the worthy parson and judge Sir 
Archibald, who doubtless strangled the consort and 
his page Taylor before the explosion, and carried the 
bodies across the back lane to an adjoining field, 
though why they did so is not clear. Bothwell, 
leaving the wedding-feast for his own apartments, 
changed his velvets and satins for rougher garb before 
going to witness the last scene of his plot ; but some 
of the gentlemen who went with him, Archibald 
Douglas especially, still wore their velvet shoes, one 
of Archibald's being lost in his flight from the 

Suddenly, at two o'clock in the morning of Monday, 
nth February, a great shock rent the air of sleeping 
Edinburgh, and awoke the frightened townsmen. 
Those living in the Cowgate, hard by, rushed to their 
windows, and some of them saw, sallying from the 
narrow wynd leading from the Kirk-o'-Field to the 
Cowgate, a party of thirteen armed men hurrying away. 
c Traitors ! traitors ! what have ye done ? ' cried the 
citizens after the retreating murderers. An affrighted 
woman, rushing from the gates of Hamilton House, 
caught one of a flying party by his silk cloak, 
beseeching him to say what had happened, but he 
shook her off roughly and fled. What Mary thought 
when the reverberation that told her that she was a 
widow shook the ancient palace in which she lay, none 


now may tell. If she could have foreseen the extent 
to which those who had promoted the deed would 
have sought to place upon her and her paramour the 
whole of the odium of it, she might well have wished 
that she had been included in the holocaust. The 
poor, foolish lad — he was less than twenty-one — whose 
pride and ineptitude had made him unfit for the great 
task he should have shared with her, had paid dearly 
for his insufficiency. Mary was free again to make, if 
she could, a powerful political match that should help 
her to realise her life-dream ; or she was free to 
become the slave of a passing passion, to take the 
unhappy course that should unite the strongest in her 
realm against her, and drag her down to ruin and 
disgrace. For once passion in her was stronger than 
politics, and she fell. 



Both well's guilt known — Efforts to exonerate Mary — Doubts of her 
friends — Attitude of the Catholics — Indignation in Edinburgh — 
Anonymous accusations of Bothwell — Demand of Lennox—- Mock 
trial and acquittal of Bothwell — Political nature of the accusations 
against Mary — Her infatuation for Bothwell — The sonnets — Marriage 
rumours— The ' Ainslie ' bond — The abduction to Dunbar — Reasons 
for Mary's connivance therein — Return to Edinburgh — Marriage with 
Bothwell — Action of the lords explained — Both well's brutality — 
Unhappy married life — Mary's sacrifice — Flight to Borthwick — 
Bothwell's escape — Carberry Hill — Surrender of Mary and flight of 
Bothwell — Mary's imprisonment — Refuses to abandon Bothwell — 
Lochleven — Suggested marriage with Methven — Mary prefers 
George Douglas — Escape — Ride to Hamilton — Langside— Flight 
to England. 

In their hurried return through the Netherbow gate 
after the explosion had awakened the town, and in 
passing the sentries at the gates of Holyrood, Both- 
well and several of his followers had been recognised. 
When half an hour later he feigned to be aroused out 
of his sleep to hear the news, and led an armed body 
of men to the seat of the crime, in order to warn 
curious citizens against near approach to the spot 
where the dead bodies of the king and his page still 
lay, men, haggard with horror as the dawn lit up the 
ruin around, looked askance and shrank away as the 
Earl of Bothwell passed, and his name in bated 
whispers already trembled upon blanching lips. The 



c Well,' replied Darnley, * I was told so by the Laird 
of Minto/ but, he continued, he could not think that 
his own wife would do him harm, if others would ; and 
he wanted to be near her, but she always found, he 
said, some pretext for retiring to her own apartments, 
' and would never abide with him past two hours at 
once/ Mary was still cold and distant, and Darnley 
began to grumble again. Why had she brought a 
horse litter with her ? he asked ; to which she replied 
that she had brought it that he might travel the easier. 
He did not want to travel in such cold weather, he 
said. He was too ill to do so. She would take 
him to Craigmillar, so that she might be near him and 
their child, she replied. Well, * if they might be at 
bed and board as husband and wife, and she to leave 
him no more, he would go where she pleased — without 
this he would not go.' He must be purged of his 
sickness before they came together, said Mary. 

She then asked if he bore ill-will to any one. No, 
he replied, he * hated no man, and loved all alike.' 
The next question, like the former one put by the 
Queen, seems to prove that she was trying to discover 
if he had any grudge against Bothwell. * How do you 
like Lady Reres ? ' to which Darnley gave an unsym- 
pathetic but non-committal reply ; and then, harking 
back to his own safety, he prayed his wife not to 
'move any against him, as he would stir none 
against her. Let them work together, or it would be 
bad for both. It was rather late in the day for him to 
urge this, as no doubt Mary thought, for she told him 
that it was he who had been in fault, which was quite 
true. And so, with this half-reconciliation, it was 
settled that Darnley should leave Glasgow with his 


wife. He and his friends in Glasgow were deeply 
distrustful still. * They thought he was going more as 
a prisoner than a husband/ the only safeguard being 
the word of the Queen, which, if they had noticed it, 
even as recorded by themselves, was not very emphatic 
or binding. ' Yet he would put himself in her hands, 
if she cut his throat,' replied Darnley to his friends. 1 

The long and important letter (No. 2), said to have 
been written by Mary from Glasgow to Bothwell, 
gives an account of this interview strikingly similar to 
that given by Darnley to Crawford. The resemblance 
is too close to be accidental, and would seem to 
indicate that this portion at least of the letter was 
added subsequently by a forger. The consideration 
of whether the whole letter was a forgery or not is 
outside the scope of this book, 3 though I may express 
my own belief that Mary did write a letter of some 
sort to Bothwell at the time. There are many pas- 
sages in the letter as published which could only serve 
the object of the forgers — namely, a desire to inculpate 
Mary in the murder. * He would not let me go, but 
would have me watch with him. I made as though I 
thought all to be true, that I would think upon it, and 
have excused myself from sitting up with him this 
night, for he sayeth that he sleepeth not. You have 
never heard him speak better nor more humbly ; and 
if I had not proof of his heart of wax, and that mine 
were not as a- diamond, no stroke but coming from 
your hand could make me but to have pity on him. 
But fear not, for the plan shall continue to death. 

1 Crawford's account of the interview as related by Darnley (Scottish 
Calendar, vol. ii. p. 313). 
* The whole subject is exhaustively discussed by Lang, Tytler, etc. 


Remember also, in recompense thereof, not to suffer 
yours to be won by that false race that would do no 
less to yourself. I think they (i.e. Darnley and Lady 
Bothwell) have been at school together. He hath 
always the tear in his eye. He saluteth every man, 
even to the meanest, and maketh much of them, that 
they may take pity of him.' 

If these words and others hinting at Darnley's 
danger from Mary and Bothwell were written by the 
Queen herself, there would have been no need for the 
forgers to have added the comparatively innocent 
account of her interview with her husband. The 
passage about * cursed be this pocky fellow that 
troubleth me so much,' containing also offensive 
allusions to the poor creature's state, are certainly 
not such as Mary would be likely to write, and I am 
inclined to believe that the letter was concocted out of 
a much more cautiously worded epistle, by the aid of 
the notes or headings that are now incorporated in it. 
Even if we eliminate this, the most damning of the 
letters produced against Mary, and regard it as a 
forgery throughout, my contention is that her moral 
guilt for the murder remains the same. She knew 
that the lords were banded together to kill her hus- 
band, and she brought him out of safety, as she alone 
was able to do, and placed him within reach of his 
destroyers. He was doomed in any case ; and her 
complicity, tacit or overt, in his death would have had 
little or no influence in her political position but for 
the jealousy of the nobles at her connection with 
Bothwell, and their fear of the Queen whilst he was 
by her side. 

Mary had intended carrying her husband to Craig- 


miliar. He was sensitive as to being seen in his 
disfigured condition. He wore a silken covering over 
his face, and wished to take a course of baths before 
appearing publicly. The Lennox people at Glasgow 
objected to Craigmillar, and urged that the consort 
should be taken to Holyrood. This would not suit 
the conspirators, and it was suggested that Hamilton 
House, just outside the walls of Edinburgh, where the 
University now stands, would be a fitting place. It 
was said that that side of the city was more salubrious 
than the low-lying palace of Holyrood. But the 
wicked old Archbishop Hamilton, and his nephew 
Lord Claude, were living there at the time, and would 
not vacate it for the accommodation of the enemy and 
rival of their house; besides which, according to at 
least one confession, the Archbishop was well aware of 
the murder plot, and would hardly relish the idea of 
his brother's palace being blown up. 

Either for this reason or some other, Bothwell and 
his accomplice, Sir James Balfour, had during Mary's 
absence in Glasgow thought of a much more con- 
venient place for the committal of the crime. The 
ruined Dominican church, standing in a field adjoining 
Hamilton House, possessed, still attached to it, the 
old conventual quadrangle of lodgings, of which the 
principal and most habitable was a small house abut- 
ting on the town-wall, through which a door led into 
a narrow by-lane. The house, built over an arched 
crypt, contained two principal rooms, both very small, 
one over the other. 1 When Darnley found himself 

1 The narrative of the crime given here is condensed from the con- 
fused, and in many cases contradictory, evidence of Paris (Papiers (TEtat y 
Teulet), Powry, Bowton, Hay of Talla, Nelson, etc. ; Buchanan, Keith, 


Remember also, in recompense thereof, not to suffer 
yours to be won by that false race that would do no 
less to yourself. I think they (i.e. Darnley and Lady 
Bothwell) have been at school together. He hath 
always the tear in his eye. He saluteth every man, 
even to the meanest, and maketh much of them, that 
they may take pity of him.' 

If these words and others hinting at Darnley's 
danger from Mary and Bothwell were written by the 
Queen herself, there would have been no need for the 
forgers to have added the comparatively innocent 
account of her interview with her husband. The 
passage about 'cursed be this pocky fellow that 
troubleth me so much,' containing also offensive 
allusions to the poor creature's state, are certainly 
not such as Mary would be likely to write, and I am 
inclined to believe that the letter was concocted out of 
a much more cautiously worded epistle, by the aid of 
the notes or headings that are now incorporated in it. 
Even if we eliminate this, the most damning of the 
letters produced against Mary, and regard it as a 
forgery throughout, my contention is that her moral 
guilt for the murder remains the same. She knew 
that the lords were banded together to kill her hus- 
band, and she brought him out of safety, as she alone 
was able to do, and placed him within reach of his 
destroyers. He was doomed in any case ; and her 
complicity, tacit or overt, in his death would have had 
little or no influence in her political position but for 
the jealousy of the nobles at her connection with 
Bothwell, and their fear of the Queen whilst he was 
by her side. 

Mary had intended carrying her husband to Craig- 


miliar. He was sensitive as to being seen in his 
disfigured condition. He wore a silken covering over 
his face, and wished to take a course of baths before 
appearing publicly. The Lennox people at Glasgow 
objected to Craigmillar, and urged that the consort 
should be taken to Holyrood. This would not suit 
the conspirators, and it was suggested that Hamilton 
House, just outside the walls of Edinburgh, where the 
University now stands, would be a fitting place. It 
was said that that side of the city was more salubrious 
than the low-lying palace of Holyrood. But the 
wicked old Archbishop Hamilton, and his nephew 
Lord Claude, were living there at the time, and would 
not vacate it for the accommodation of the enemy and 
rival of their house; besides which, according to at 
least one confession, the Archbishop was well aware of 
the murder plot, and would hardly relish the idea of 
his brother's palace being blown up. 

Either for this reason or some other, Bothwell and 
his accomplice, Sir James Balfour, had during Mary's 
absence in Glasgow thought of a much more con- 
venient place for the committal of the crime. The 
ruined Dominican church, standing in a field adjoining 
Hamilton House, possessed, still attached to it, the 
old conventual quadrangle of lodgings, of which the 
principal and most habitable was a small house abut- 
ting on the town-wall, through which a door led into 
a narrow by-lane. The house, built over an arched 
crypt, contained two principal rooms, both very small, 
one over the other. 1 When Darnley found himself 

1 The narrative of the crime given here is condensed from the con- 
fused, and in many cases contradictory, evidence of Paris (Papurs iTEtat, 
Teulet), Powry, Bowton, Hay of Talla, Nelson, etc. ; Buchanan, Keith, 


begun again by people who gravely suspected her 
to be a murderess. 1 The distracted Lady Lennox 
had no need to respect diplomatic convention, and 
loudly proclaimed that her boy had been sacrificed 
by his wife. The Protestants in England, influenced 
of course by the feeling in Scotland, were of the same 
opinion. 'The (English) Catholics are divided : the 
friends of the King holding with the Queen's guilt, 
and her adherents to the contrary/ * This, be it 
recollected, is the testimony sent in the strictest 
secrecy of cipher by the Spanish ambassador in 
London, Mary's greatest well-wisher, to King Philip, 
her principal supporter. 

Meanwhile in Edinburgh the sky darkened over 
Mary. Bothwell, at whom all fingers were pointing 
as the chief murderer, was ever by her side. Instead 
of staying in seclusion, as was the custom with widows, 
and as she had done for four weeks when Francis died, 
she attended the wedding ceremony of her waiting- 
maid, Margaret Carwood, on Tuesday, whilst yet 
Darnley's body remained unburied in the care of 
the treacherous groom Sandy Durham, at a humble 
house near the spot where it had been discovered ; 
and after huddling the corpse at night, with no 
ceremony, into the grave of Rizzio on the 15 th 
February, the bereaved widow hurried oflF to Seton, 

1 Guzman wrote the news of Darnley's death to Philip on the 17th 
February, two days after he learned it from Cecil, and the first comment that 
he made was the following : ' In any case (*./. whether Mary be guilty or 
not), the question of whom she is to marry must be kept in view, for 
obvious reasons, and when the man she is sending hither (Melville) arrives 
here, I will endeavour to discover the truth of what has happened, in order 
to advise your Majesty, and to incline the Queen not to dispose of herself 
until your Majesty can counsel her on the matter. Of course the French 
will do all they can to get her to marry to their liking ' {Spanish Calendar, 
Hume, vol. i. p. 618). ' Ibid. p. 620. 


for change and relaxation, accompanied by Both well, 
Huntly, Argyle, and Lethington, 1 and guarded by 
Captain Cullen, whose hands had drawn tight the 
fatal napkin that strangled her husband. 

Deeper and deeper grew the indignation of the 
people of Edinburgh at the slackness of the court 
in the prosecution of the murderers. It is true 
that two days after the deed a proclamation was 
issued in Mary's name, expressing abhorrence of the 
crime and offering a reward of £2000, a free pardon, 
and a life-annuity to any person who would discover 
the criminals; but none dared to claim the reward 
openly, as had been foreseen by those who offered 
it. Every night anonymous placards appeared on the 
Market Cross and in other public places, even on the 
very gates of Holyrood, denouncing Bothwell, Balfour, 
Chambers, Ormiston, Bastien, Joseph Rizzio, 2 and 
others of BothwelTs or the Queen's underlings as 
the chief murderers. Portraits of Bothwell, and 
even of the Queen, with incriminating inscriptions, 
were spread broadcast ; and the Protestant preachers 
were ceaseless in their hints from the pulpit at the 
criminality of the highest people in the land. In vain 
Bothwell rode with fifty men-at-arms clattering up the 
High Street, and threatened to wash his hands in the 
blood of any man who dared to accuse him ; but when 

1 Huntly and Bothwell remained behind at Holyrood when Mary first 
went to Seton on the 16th, but they accompanied her when she returned 
thither a day or two later for a longer stay. 

* Bastien, Joseph Rizzio, and another Italian servant of the Queen, who 
were said to be implicated in the plot, promptly left Scotland, well rewarded 
by the Queen ; and Sandy Durham, the groom of the chambers who had led 
the murderers to Darnley's room on the night of the crime, and had after- 
wards watched the body, was appointed master of the wardrobe for life to 
Prince James on the night of Darnley's burial at Holyrood, 15th February 
(Malcolm Laing, from Privy Seal Records of Scotland). 

2 A 


Murray, brother of the Laird of Tullibardine, avowed 
the authorship of one paper, and offered to sustain the 
accusations in it by ordeal of combat, he was proclaimed 
a traitor and silenced. 

Poor old Lennox clamoured to the Queen and 
council that the persons thus publicly denounced as 
his son's murderers should be brought to justice. 
Elizabeth and Catharine de Medici almost indig- 
nantly urged Mary in scandalised letters, and by 
special envoys, to insist, for the sake of her own 
impugned honour, upon having due investigation 
made; and at last, on the 23rd March 1567, the 
Queen wrote to Lennox, after many previous sub- 
terfuges, promising him that the persons accused by 
him should be brought to their trial before a special 
assize during the coming parliament. 1 Lennox at once 
accused Bothwell and others ; but when the day for the 
trial came (12th April) the accomplices of the accused 
sat upon the bench, with Argyle as their president, 
Edinburgh was crammed with BothwelTs rough bor- 
derers and hired bravoes, whilst Lennox was forbidden 
to bring with him more than six men-at-arms out of 
the three thousand he had at his bidding. He came not 
at all to this mockery of justice, but by proxy protested 
against the finding of a court so convened and so 
conducted. Of course Bothwell was 'cleared and 
acquitted, by some for fear, some for favour, and 
the greatest part in expectation of advantage. 2 This 

1 LabanofF, vol. ii. p. 17. 

* Their expectations were not disappointed. Before the parliament was 
dissolved Huntly's confiscated estates were confirmed to him 5 the grants 
previously made by Mary to Murray, Morton, Crawford, Rothes, Semple, 
Hemes, and Lethington being also confirmed. Murray had prudently left 
to travel in France a few days previously. 


way being assolsied, he remained still the greatest 
favourite at court.* 1 

But acquitted he was, and a decree was issued im- 
posing the death penalty upon any man who should 
see a slanderous placard and not destroy it; whilst 
Bothwell himself challenged to mortal combat any 
who questioned his innocence. 2 The consideration 
which will occur to the reader is that, whilst Darn- 
ley was really a Catholic, looking to the papal party 
alone for support, and all his principal murderers were 
Protestants, the outcry and scandal that were raised 
both in Scotland and England about his murder 
came almost entirely from the Protestant party. 
The Catholics, as we have seen, though some were 
swept into the movement against Bothwell, were dis- 
posed to stand by Mary through thick, and thin, let 
her be guilty or otherwise. This fact marks the 
purely political character of the agitation against her 
for her complicity in the murder. We must admit 
that the Catholics as such were no more likely to 
condone murder than the Protestants were, and yet we 
see that Catholics who believed Mary to be, at least, 
a consenting party to the crime, were still desirous 
of using her for their ends as if nothing had happened ; 
whilst the Protestants, even some of those concerned in 

1 Melville's Memoirs. 

* Although no man dared openly to accept the challenge, an anonymous 
reply was posted the next day, in which tne author offers to prove that 
Bothwell is guilty, and fight him either in France or England, if the 
sovereigns of those countries will grant permission. To this reply are 
appended some lines of verse, three of which run thus :— 

'It is nocht ancuch the puir king it deid, 
But the mischand murthararis occupand his steid 
And donbell adulterie hat all this land P shamit.* 

{Scottish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 320.) 


the murder, during the rest of Mary's life never ceased 
to make capital out of it, to her detriment and to their 
own advantage. The loud indignation at the murder 
expressed both in Scotland and abroad was, indeed, to 
a great degree artificial and political, and in all pro- 
bability would have been easily overcome by the usual 
political means but for the jealousy aroused by Mary's 
insensate passion for Bothwell. This it was that turned 
against her, it must be confessed with an utter want of 
chivalry, the men who, like Murray, Huntly, Morton, 
and Lethington, were more deeply compromised than 
she was in the crime for which they endeavoured to 
make her alone suffer. 

The dastardly meanness, of Murray especially, in 
seizing upon the opportunity presented to him by 
Mary's weakness, to drive home to her alone the 
charge of murder in order to serve his own ambition, 
was satanic. All that might tend to inculpate others 
in the crime, except Bothwell, who was out of his 
power, was carefiilly eliminated from tHfe evidence 
produced at York and subsequently published to the 
world. Lethington and Morton, Huntly and Bal- 
four, and of course the stainless Murray himself, were 
shielded ; but all that existed, or could be invented or 
forged, to blacken Mary's consenting share of the 
crime, was made the most of by the leaders of the Pro- 
testant party; not necessarily because they abhorred 
murder more than others, for principal agitators were 
quite as guilty of it as Mary herself, but because they 
saw in it * chance of thus defeating the objects which 
they knew she cherished ; and she, by her blind, un- 
worthy love, had, for a time at least, lost the friends 
who otherwise would have steod by her. 


Mary's infatuation for Bothwell was boundless. The 
faithful Mar was deprived of the keepership of Edin- 
burgh Castle in favour of a creature of the Queen's 
lover. The castle of Blackness and the Inch were sur- 
rendered to Bothwell, who also obtained the superior- 
ship of Leith, which ensured him, if necessary, a retreat 
by sea. Jewels, church embroideries, splendid furs, 
formerly belonging to her mother ; nay, even poor 
Darnley's finest garments, were made over by Mary 
to her lover. 1 The objections jusdy urged against 
much of the text of the Casket Letters cannot with 
equal force be opposed to the sonnets that accom- 
panied them. They appear, to me at least, to bear 
upon them undoubted signs of authenticity, and if 
they present a true picture of her feelings towards 
Bothwell when she wrote them, the favours crowded 
upon the earl by his sovereign are more than explained. 
She appears to have been self-tortured with jealousy, 
and reveals herself in one hundred and sixty lines of 
passionate verse as a woman fiercely and insatiably 
pursuing the lukewarm object of her desire, at one 
moment bewailing the vast sacrifice she has made for 
his doubtful love, at the next protesting her abject 
submission if only he will be faithful to her. Poor 
Lady Bothwell, who appears to have been of an 
accommodating disposition, fares badly at the Queen's 
hands ; and nothing more clearly shows the handiwork 
of a desperate woman in love than the lines devoted 
to BothwelTs lawful wife. No forger, especially if he 
were a man, would have put so much gal{ in his pen 
when referring to her as is contained in several of 
Mary's sonnets. 

1 Buchanan and Robertson's Inwentoriet 


1 She for her honour's sake obeyeth you — 
I, obeying you, my dishonour seek. 
No wife, alas ! am I, as she to you ; 
Yet shall she not excel me, e'en in this. 
Constant she be, for profit to herself, 
For great her honour is to rule your state, 
Whilst my dear love with scorn alone be paid ; 
Yet shall she pass me not in duty leal. 
Tranquil she sleeps and dreams not of your ill, 
Whilst I in torment toss, lest evil fall. 
She did enjoy you with her friends' consent; 
I, in despite of mine, will lore you still. 
And yet, dear heart ! my loyalty you doubt, 
And firm assurance bear that she be true.' 

Her utter abandonment and subjection to her love 
are well expressed in the following sonnet : — 

' Mon amour croist, et plus en croistra ; 
Tant que je vivrai, et tiendra a grandeur. 
Tant seulement d* avoir part en ce coeur, 
Vers qui, en fin, mon amour paroitra 
Si tres a clair, que jamais n'en doutra. 
Pour luy je veux rechercher la grandeur, 
Et faira tant qu'en vray connoistra, 
Que je nay bien heur, ni contentement, 
Qu 'a obeyr et servir loyammant. 
Pour luy j'attends toute bonne fortune ; 
Pour luy je veux garder sante et vie ; 
Pour luy tout vertu de suivre j'ay envie, 
Et sans changer me trouvera toute vie.' 

In another of her sonnets she seems to hint, as 
inimical forgers certainly would not have done, at 
violence having been used by Bothwell in his first 
intercourse with her : — 

4 Pour luy aussi, je jete mainte larme, 
Premier quand il se fit de ce corps possesseur ; 
De quel, alors, il n'avoyt pas le coeur. 
Puis me donna tin autre dure alarme 


Quand il versa de son sang maint drasme. 1 
Dans de grief il me vint laisser doleur, 
Qui me pensa oster la vie, et la frayeur 
De perdre la la seule rempart qui m'arme. 
Pour luy depuis j'ay meprise l'honneur, 
Ce qui nous peut seul provoir de bonheur. 
Pour luy j'ay hasarde grandeur et conscience ; 
Pour luy tous mes parents jay quiste et amys ; 
Et tous aultres respects sont apart mis. 
Brief, de vous seul, je cherche alliance.' 

In this poem, it will be noticed, Mary asserts that, 
until Bothwell had possessed himself of her by violence, 
she had not been in love with him ; but that from that 
time she had, for his sake, disregarded honour, the sole 
source of happiness, had risked the loss of her great 
position, had imperilled her conscience, abandoned her 
friends and kin, and had cast aside all considerations 
but her love. It is perfectly true that she had done 
so, and with her eyes open to the sacrifice she was 
making. Carried away by the passion with which 
Bothwell had been able to inspire her, perhaps for the 
first time in her life, she was ready temporarily to 
place in the background even the great aims that had 
thitherto been the absorbing interest of her existence. 
Later, as we shall see, she endeavoured to pick up the 
broken thread; but during the spring of 1567 she 
disregarded all things and considerations for the over- 
powering passion that dominated her. 

As Bothwell rode on Darnley's charger out of the 
gates of Holyrood to stand his mock-trial (12th April), 
followed by thousands of armed horsemen to overawe 
possible opposition, Mary waved him a smiling fere- 
well from her window ; and people were already saying 

1 This refers doubtless to his wound on the Border. 


in the town that the twain would be married notwith- 
standing BothwelTs wedded wife. 1 When he had been 
duly absolved from the accusation against him, he 
carried before the Queen her crown and sceptre at the 
opening, and the sword of honour back to the palace 
after the closing of parliament ; and the Border earl 
then gave to the nobles that famous supper-party at 
Ainslie's tavern. Bothwell was irresistible. The reit of 
the nobles had received their rewards for conniving at, 
or shutting their eyes to, Darnley's murder ; Bothwell 
now claimed his guerdon, the hand of the Queen, His 
men-at-arms swarmed in the town, the fortresses were 
in his hands ; and, either by persuasion or threats, 
he induced the whole of the lords present, except the 
Earl of Eglinton, who ' slipped away,' to sign a bond 
pledging themselves, with their bodies, gear, and kin, 
to defend his innocence and maintain his quarrel. 
'And as her Majesty is now destitute of a husband, 
in which solitary sort the common-weal cannot permit 
her Highness to continue, if it should please her so 
far to humble herself by taking one of her own born 
subjects, and marry the said earl, they will maintain 
and fortify him against all that would hinder or disturb 
the said marriage as common enemies, and therein 
bestow their lives and goods, as they shall answer to 
God' (19th April 1567). Murray had with his usual 
prudence left for France and avoided the trap, though 
it was afterwards alleged that he signed the bond ; 

1 The rumour had indeed reached as far as London already. Leicester 
told Guzman, before the 14th April, that a 'divorce was being effected 
between the Earl of Bothwell and his wife, who is a sister of the Earl of 
Huntly. . . . When they speak here of Bothwell's divorce, they hint that 
it is with the object of his marrying the Queen ' {Spanish Calendar, Hume, 
vol. i. p. 633). Mary is said to have sent a token and message to Bothwell 
during the mock-trial (Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. p. 230). 


but the Earls of Argyle, Huntly, Cassilis, Morton, 
Sutherland, Rothes, Glencairn, and Caithness, and all 
the bishops and barons present, pledged themselves to 
this, 1 * so far as it may please our sovereign lady to 
allow.' We shall see later how Mary, under different 
impulses, first accepted 1 and later repudiated this bond, 
as she did Bothwell himself. 

At this period, at least, just before the comedy of 
her abduction, the evidence points strongly to the 
probability that she was even more eager for the 
marriage than the proposed bridegroom. Rigid Pro- 
testants, untouched by courtly effeminacy, like Kirk- 
caldy of Grange, were horrified at the scandal, and 
already saw the inevitability of an armed struggle in 
the near future to secure the punishment of those who 
had committed or condoned regicide. There was no 
religious reason for a Protestant rising, for great con- 
cessions to the reformers had been made by Mary and 
the Parliament just closed. To their last demand 
alone, that Darnley's murderers should be punished, 
Mary returned an angry refusal. It was the Queen's 
ostentatious favour to a murderer that was arming the 
feeling of Protestants against her much more than the 
murder itself, which, if the actual perpetrators had lain 

1 Herries is said to have signed it, but he came shortly afterwards to 
Edinburgh, with a sufficient force for his protection, and gravely warned 
Mary of the evil course she followed. 

* There was produced subsequently, alleged to have been found in the 
famous casket, an undertaking dated 5th April, a week before Bothwell** 
mock-trial, in which Mary agreed to marry Bothwell. As, like all the 
prose writings in the casket, the authenticity of this document has been 
notly disputed, I do not wish to produce it in evidence here. There is 
ample proof without it that Mary's relations with Bothwell before his 
acquittal, as well as after, were intimate in the extreme ; and whether the 
marriage-contract of the 5th April be genuine or not, it is manifest that if 
Mary at that date did not contemplate marriage with the earl her conduct 
was more reprehensible than if she did. 


low or fled, would soon have been forgotten. Kirkcaldy, 
on the 20th April, writes to Bedford asking what help 
they (the Protestants) may hope for from Elizabeth, 
who had treated them so badly the last time they rose. 
The Queen (Mary), he says, intends to take her child 
out of the hands of the Earl of Mar (Erskine), € and 
put him in BothwelTs keeping, who murdered his 
father.' Kirkcaldy is sure Mary will marry Bothwell, 
€ for she said she cared not to lose France, England, 
and her own country for him, and will go with him to 
the world's end in a white petticoat, rather than leave 
him. Yea, she is so past all shame that she hath 
caused make an Act of Parliament against all that set 
up any writing that speaks anything of him. What- 
ever is unhonest reigns presently at court.' 1 

On the 24th April, four days later, Kirkcaldy again 
wrote to Bedford. * BothwelTs wife is going to part 
with her husband.' * The Queen rode to Stirling this 
last Monday, and is to return on Thursday. I doubt 
not that ye have heard Bothwell hath gathered many 
of his friends ; some say to ride in Liddesdale ; but I 
believe it not, for he is minded to meet the Queen 
this day (Thursday) and to take her by the way, and 
bring her to Dunbar. Judge ye if it be with her will 
or not ! But ye will hear more at length on Friday 
or Saturday.' 2 

Thus we see that people in Edinburgh knew before 
the event the purpose of Bothwell to abduct the 
Queen, and, supposing for a moment that the latter 
had not connived at her seizure, she might have 
escaped it by staying at Stirling or proceeding to 

1 Scottish Calendar t vol. ii. p. 322. 
* Ibid. 


Edinburgh by another road. As Kirkcaldy predicted, 
whilst Mary was returning from visiting her child at 
Stirling, and on arriving at Almond Bridge, between 
Linlithgow and Edinburgh, six miles from the latter 
place, attended by Huntly, Lethington, and Sir James 
Melville, with a small escort, she found Bothwell with 
a strong body of eight hundred horsemen blocking 
the way. Seizing her bridle, he led her with him to 
the stronghold of Dunbar, which had just been given 
to him ; and as Captain Blackater, one of Darnley's 
murderers, took prisoner Sir James Melville, he 
whispered to him that the thing was being done by 
the Queen's consent. 1 

Riding, surrounded by Border ruffians, to Dunbar, 
Lethington alone of all the party had cause to fear, for 
Bothwell distrusted and hated him. He was too 
clever, and knew too much, to suit either the Queen 
or her lover at this juncture ; and shortly afterwards 
he would have fallen to Bothwell's dagger in the 
Queen's chamber had not Mary stepped between them. 8 

1 Melville's Memoirs. 

* A curious story is told by Melville of Mary's distrust of Lethington' s 
enmity to Bothwell shortly before this. It seems that James Melville, 
shocked at the rumours that were rife of Mary's intention to marry the 
murderer of her husband, showed her a letter from a Scottish agent in 
England, expressing indignant grief at the rumour. Mary read the letter 
without comment, and handed it to Lethington, saying, ' Here is a strange 
letter that Melville has shown me." * What can it mean ? ' he asked. < It is 
a device of your own/ said the Queen, 'tending to wreck the Earl of 
Bothwell/ When Lethington had read the letter he remonstrated with 
Melville for showing it to the Queen ; ' for so soon as Bothwell gets notice 
hereof ... he will cause you to be killed." Melville fled, though Bothwell, 

when the Queen told him, hunted for him to kill him. Mary, however, 

peace, by saying that if Bothwell behaved in that i 
would drive all her servants away (Melville's Memoir j\ Lethington also 

fled for a time to the safe protection of his friend Athol, after Bothwell's 
attempt to murder him, Mary ultimately making peace between them also. 
He was in mortal fear, however, during his stay in Edinburgh Castle with 
Mary and her new husband in May, and deserted them on the first 


Lethington, Huntly, and Melville were released 
from Dunbar the next day, but Mary, in appear- 
ance a prisoner, remained in the hands of Both- 
well. That she was really a consenting party was the 
general opinion at the time, both amongst the friends 
of Mary and her foes. On the 26th April honest 
Kirkcaldy writes : ' This Queen will never cease till 
she has wrecked all the honest men of this realm. She 
was minded to cause Bothwell to ravish her, to the 
end that she may the sooner end the marriage which 
she promised before the murder of her husband/ 1 
Drury, writing on the following day, expresses a 
similar opinion. Guzman the Spanish ambassador 
thought so too. He wrote to King Philip (3rd May 
1567) 2 that when the Queen's escort displayed an 
intention of defending her against capture, ' the 
Queen stopped them, saying she was ready to go with 
Bothwell wherever he wished, rather than bloodshed 
and death should result. She arrived at Dunbar at 
midnight. . . . Some say she will marry him ... as 
they are informed by the highest men in the country 
who follow Bothwell. They are convinced of this, 
both because of the favour the Queen has shown him, 
and because he has the national forces in her hands. 
Although the Queen sent secretly to the governor 
of the town of Dunbar to sally with his troops and 
release her, it is believed that the whole affair has been 
arranged, so that, if anything comes of the marriage, 
the Queen may make out that she was forced into it. 
This Queen (Elizabeth) is greatly scandalised at the 
business, and related it to me. I also heard it . . . 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 325. 

* Spams A Calendar, Elizabeth, Hume, vol. i. p. 638. 


from the man who brought the news, who is a good 
Catholic and an intimate acquaintance of mine.' Thus 
both Mary's friends and her enemies believed that 
she and Bothwell understood each other, though the 
Catholic party, perceiving that their opponents were 
busy turning the rumours about her to political 
account, very soon began to attribute the spreading 
of rumours themselves to party rancour, and alleged 
that they were deliberately made the most of by Cecil's 
orders 1 where they tended to Mary's discredit 

Mary returned to Edinburgh from Dunbar on the 
3rd May. The high-handed proceeding of carrying 
her off, ostensibly without her consent, had aroused 
great indignation in the country ; and many of the 
nobles who up to that period had seconded Bothwell's 
action turned violently against him, not really so much 
because they learned that, during her week of seclusion 
at Dunbar, the Queen had promised to marry him, as 
because they now saw that he aimed at a monopoly of 
power. At the time of the capture Mary had sent a 
message to the townspeople of Edinburgh ordering 
them to come to her rescue. But Dunbar was strong, 
and the burgesses of Edinburgh divided ; and their 
half-hearted muster could do nothing effectual. Mary's 
attitude appears somewhat paradoxical in thus demand- 
ing aid if she consented to the abduction. But it 
must be remembered that it was of the first importance 
to her that she should be protected personally 2 against 

1 Guzman to Philip, 17th May 1567 {Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. i. 
PP. *37> 640). 

* It may be pointed out again in this connection that Mary's essentially 
selfish character always exacted that, whoever else might be compromised, 
she should always be protected from the consequences of acts in which she 
was a consenting party. The crowning instance of this, which does not 


false, that no papal dispensation * had been granted for 
it; and the Presbyterian jurisdiction dissolving the 
marriage on Lady Bothwell's petition, founded on the 
admitted adultery of her husband. 

When Mary, with Bothwell by her side humbly 
leading her bridle, and surrounded by his spearmen 
ostentatiously unarmed, rode into Edinburgh Castle, 
now held in Bothwell's interest by his accomplice Sir 
James Balfour, the thunder of quickly coming contest 
rumbled around her. The lords had been at one with 
Bothwell so long as the question had been the removal 
of obnoxious Darnley; they had acquiesced even, 
more or less willingly, in the proposal for the Queen's 
marriage with their accomplice. But when the abduc- 
tion showed them that the latter intended to use the 
marriage as a means of monopolising power and the 
Queen's influence, to the exclusion of his associates, 
then jealousy and self-interest rebelled against the 
union. Bothwell had been acceptable as an instru- 
ment, even as a political partner ; but as an arrogant 
superior the lords could not tolerate him. The com- 
mon people too, especially those of the capital, with 
whom Bothwell was intensely unpopular, added strength 
to the movement of the nobles to separate the Queen 
from her captor ; and when Argyle, Morton, Athol, 
and Mar met at Stirling soon after Mary's capture, 
they had behind them practically the whole of the 
nobility except Crawford, Errol, and Huntly, Both- 
well's complaisant brother-in-law. 

1 Bothwell and his wife, Lady Jane Gordon, were related within the 
degrees of consanguinity forbidden to husband and wife by the Church, 
and a papal dispensation was therefore necessary. This had actually been 
issued by the Archbishop of St. Andrews himself as legate, but he 
conveniently forgot it. 

James, Earl of Bothwell. 

(Artist Unknown.) 

Enlarged from a Reproduction 
n " The Stuarts " by J. y. Foster 


false, that no papal dispensation l had been granted for 
it; and the Presbyterian jurisdiction dissolving the 
marriage on Lady Bothwell's petition, founded on the 
admitted adultery of her husband. 

When Mary, with Bothwell by her side humbly 
leading her bridle, and surrounded by his spearmen 
ostentatiously unarmed, rode into Edinburgh Castle, 
now held in Bothwell's interest by his accomplice Sir 
James Balfour, the thunder of quickly coming contest 
rumbled around her. The lords had been at one with 
Bothwell so long as the question had been the removal 
of obnoxious Darnley ; they had acquiesced even, 
more or less willingly, in the proposal for the Queen's 
marriage with their accomplice. But when the abduc- 
tion showed them that the latter intended to use the 
marriage as a means of monopolising power and the 
Queen's influence, to the exclusion of his associates, 
then jealousy and self-interest rebelled against the 
union. Bothwell had been acceptable as an instru- 
ment, even as a political partner ; but as an arrogant 
superior the lords could not tolerate him. The com- 
mon people too, especially those of the capital, with 
whom Bothwell was intensely unpopular, added strength 
to the movement of the nobles to separate the Queen 
from her captor ; and when Argyle, Morton, Athol, 
and Mar met at Stirling soon after Mary's capture, 
they had behind them practically the whole of the 
nobility except Crawford, Errol, and Huntly, Both- 
well's complaisant brother-in-law. 

1 Bothwell and his wife, Lady Jane Gordon, were related within the 
degrees of consanguinity forbidden to husband and wife by the Churcbr 
and a papal dispensation was therefore necessary. This had actually been 
issued by the Archbishop of St. Andrews himself as legate, but he 
conveniently forgot it. 

James, Earl of Bothwell. 

(Artist Unknown.) 

Enlarged from a Reproduction 
in " The Stuarts " by J. y. Foster 


At Stirling another bond was made, pledging them 
to liberate the Queen from Bothwell, to defend the 
child-prince in Stirling, whom they asserted Bothwell 
wished to kill, 1 and to punish the murderers of 
Darnley. As Morton and Argyle at least were 
accomplices in the latter crime, it may be taken that 
the inclusion of this item in their pledge was for the 
purpose of attracting public opinion in their favour, 
and to make Bothwell a scapegoat, he having been 
specially associated with the actual commission of the 
crime in the minds of the mass of the people. For 
their own sake, however, they could have had no real 
desire to t>ring him to justice, for in that case their 
own guilt would have come out ; as indeed it did, to a 
great extent, in the last confessions of the subordinate 
actors, who were soon afterwards brought to the 
scaffold. To their respective estates the lords scattered 
to raise their retainers, except Mar, who guarded the 
prince at Stirling, whilst the Queen and her captor 
in Edinburgh strained every nerve in their warlike 
preparations to meet force with force. Demands for 
aid from the Protestant section of the lords flew daily 
to the English court, whilst de Croc, the French 
ambassador, made most of his opportunity to urge the 
nobles to look to France, the old friend of Scotland, 
to help them to liberate their Queen. De Croc even 
implored Mary herself to leave Bothwell and refuse to 
marry him, or she should have no friendship with his 
master Charles ix. But unhappy Mary had gone too 
far now to retreat. De Croc told the lords that * she 

1 Mary's enemies asserted that she also wished to poison her child ; and 
Drury tells a story of her attempting to do so on her visit to Stirling 
(Border Papers). This, however, seems incredible, Mary had nothing to 
gain at that time by the death of her child. 

2 B 


would give no ear to him,' and thenceforward he 
attached himself to them instead of to Mary, in the 
hope of obtaining for France the custody of the 
Prince. Melting her plate into ducats, even the 
great gold font sent by Elizabeth for the christening 
of James, raising loans in Edinburgh and mustering 
men-at-arms, the Queen and Bothwell organised their 
defence with energy. On their entry into the town 
Mary had formally pardoned her captor, and three 
days before the marriage she appeared publicly before 
the Lords of Session and assured them that she was 
a free agent. The lords, however, refused to consider 
her free, ' so long as she be in the said earl's company, 
albeit he may persuade her Majesty to say otherwise.* l 
A few days after her return Mary ordered the 
banns of her marriage with Bothwell to be published 
according to law. John Craig, who held Knox's 
charge in his absence, at first indignantly refused; 
but being assured by the Queen in writing that she 
was neither abducted nor a prisoner, and being 
demanded legally by both parties, he reluctantly and 
under protest published the banns of the ill-fated 
union at St. Giles on the nth May. * I took heaven 
to witness,' he says, * that I abhorred and detested that 
marriage, as odious and scandalous to the world, and, 
seeing that the best part of the realm did approve of 
it, either by flattery or by their silence, I desired the 
faithful to pray earnestly that God would turn to the 
comfort of the realm what was done against reason 
and conscience.' 2 That no determined attempt was 

1 R. Melville to Cecil, 7th May (Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii.)- 
* Craig being called before the council for this and reproved, he turned 
upon Bothwell and accused him of having murdered Damley, ravished the 
Queen, and divorced his wife illegally (M'Crie's Life of Knox). 


made by the lords to prevent the marriage by force, if 
they really believed that Mary was being compelled to 
marry under duress, is one of the most disgraceful de- 
tails of the shameful episode. It is true that Bothwell 
held the fortresses and the stores of warlike material, but 
a general cry coming from a whole people against the 
outrage would have made even him hesitate before he 
went to the extreme of forcing the Queen to marry 
him against her will. That no demonstration of pro- 
test was raised, and no attempt made to disturb the 
ceremony, seems to prove, if further proof be needed, 
that the opinion of the people was that no compulsion 
was exercised by Bothwell, and that Mary was as anxious 
for the marriage as was her husband ; and this view is 
certainly borne out by her own words. When the 
lords at Stirling wrote simply remonstrating with her 
against the proposed marriage, which, be it recollected, 
they had sworn to promote, she answered that ' it was 
true that she had been evil and strangely handled, but 
since so well used as she had no cause to complain ; 
willing them (the lords) to quiet themselves.' 1 To 
this they replied that, unless she dismissed the soldiers 
who surrounded her, and admitted the nobles to attend 
her, they would not believe that her writings were spon- 
taneous. This provides a key to the whole problem. 
They hated and feared Bothwell's monopoly of power 
more than the marriage. 

In the meanwhile the unhappy Queen was already 
awakening to the fatal position into which she had 
been led. Once inside Edinburgh Castle, with only 
Bothwell, Huntly, and Lethington (the latter in 
hourly fear of death, pretending to side with the 

1 Prury to Cecil, 5th May 1567 (Foreign Calendar). 


Queen's action, but betraying her the while), Mary 
found that Bothwell when out of the public eye was 
no longer a humble slave, but an overbearing and 
arrogant master. * There are often jars between the 
Queen and the Duke,' x writes Drury to Cecil. c There 
has been great unkindness between them for half a 
day. He is held the most jealous man that lives, and 
it is believed that they will not long agree after the 
marriage. . . . The Queen walking abroad will hang 
upon his arm * ; and Sir William Drury 's modesty is so 
shocked that he dares not repeat to Cecil what Lady 
Buccleugh says was the way she 'bred BothwelTs 
greatness with the Queen; 2 nor the speech of the 
Queen, nor of his unsatiateness towards women.' 
Bothwell was evidently a truculent, sensual tyrant, 
who watched Mary jealously, fearing treachery; whilst 
she, always in tears now, was wearing her heart out 
with unavailing regrets, jealous on her side at Lady 
BothwelTs 8 stay in the neighbourhood, and feeling, 
for the first time in her life, the heavy hand of a 

On the morning of Thursday, 15th May 1567, in 
the old chapel of Holyrood, Adam Bothwell, Bishop 
of Orkney, performed the mournful marriage ceremony 
according to the rites of the Reformed Church.* Mary 

1 Mary had just created Bothwell Duke of Orkney (12th May). 

* Witchcraft was probably referred to, as Lady Buccleugh was a 
notoriously reputed witch. 

8 Guzman says that Bothwell used to leave Mary for some days each 
week to stay with his divorced wife. 

* The marriage contract, signed the previous day (Labanoff, vol. ii. p. 23), 
sets forth at great length the reasons which have moved Mary to consent. 

The principal is that, ' being a widow, and vet of young flourishing age, 
and able to procreate and bring forth more cnildren,* she had been pressed 
by her nobles, in writing, to marry the Duke of Orkney rather than a 
foreigner, and acceded to their petition. In another document signed the 
same day the Queen undertakes to refrain for ever from accusing or pro- 


was in deep mourning, as she had been at her wedding 
with Darnley ; and there was none of the feasting 
customary at the wedding of princes. Some of Mary's 
zealous friends have sought to adduce from her sorrow 
at and soon after the marriage proof that she had been 
from the first an unwilling victim. That she was 
terribly distressed is undoubted. Drury wrote that he 
had been told that i the Queen was the most changed 
woman of face that in so little time without extremity 
of sickness they have seen.' 1 De Croc, the French 
ambassador, refused to attend the wedding, but visited 
the bride the same day at her request. * I noticed/ he 
writes, 2 i something strange in the manner of her and 
her husband, which she sought to excuse ; saying that 
if she was sad, it was because she wished to be so, and 
she never wished to rejoice again. All that she wished 
for was death. Yesterday whilst she and her husband 
were together, shut up in their cabinet, she cried out 
aloud for a knife with which to kill herself. Those 
who were in the outer chamber heard her/ Sir James 
Melville 8 also refers to this incident. 'The Queen 
was so disdainfully handled, and with such reproachful 
language, that in the presence of Arthur Erskine I 
heard her ask for a knife to stab herself, or else, said 
she, I shall drown myself.' That Mary was profoundly 
unhappy after she had taken the false step is evident ; 
that, indeed, is what happens to most people who take 
false steps ; but it does not prove that she had not 
taken it willingly. 

She had for passing love of this lustful, foul-mouthed 

securing any of the lords for signing the bond (the Ainslie bond) in favour 
of the marriage with Bothwell. 

1 Foreign Calendar, 20th May 1567. 

2 Tytler and Labanoff, vol. ii. p. 30. ' Melville's Memoirs. 


desperado 1 cast aside for a space the political object of 
her life. She had forgotten, if only for a week, her 
high interests and her good name. But the infatuation 
could not last long, and she soon again became the 
ambitious, keen, diplomatic Mary, proud of her 
royalty, loving luxury and comfort, and essentially 
selfish in her outlook upon life. Being such, how 
could she fail to be wretched when, after the first 
violence of her passion was spent, she saw in its 
prosaic hideousness the awful position into which it 
had betrayed her, a position in which she, for the first 
time perhaps in her life, had sacrificed everything and 
gained nothing, not even personal happiness? She, 
the light-hearted woman who loved gaiety and popu- 
larity, saw herself, as a result of her own folly, 
surrounded by treacherous enemies, execrated in the 
streets as she passed for a murderess and an adulteress, 
knowing that for this rough tyrant at her side she had 
sacrificed her all, and yet jealously doubting even of 
his love for her now that his first passion was sated. 
The ghastly nightmare that must have pursued Mary 
Stuart in those dreadful days was indeed reason 
enough to have driven a less high-minded woman than 
she to despair and death. 

In public Bothwell played the royal consort as well 
as he was able. 2 A week after the wedding he enter- 
tained her at a * water triumph,' where he himself 

1 Melville says that his speech before the gentlewomen at supper was so 
filthy that he (Melville) and they left him. The same courtier says : ' He 
was so beastly and suspicious that he suffered her not to pass over a day in 
patience/ And Lethington told De Croc that from the day of the mar- 
riage there had been no end to Mary's tears and lamentations, for Bothwell 
' would not allow her to look at, or be looked upon, by any one, for he knew 
well that she loved her pleasure * (Tculet, Papier s cTEtat, etc.). 

* He even wrote letters in the usual formula, bespeaking favourable 
dealing, to Queen Elizabeth and Cecil {Scottish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 330). 


tilted at the ring ; but it was noticed that wherever she 
went she was guarded by soldiers. * The Duke,' wrote 
Drury to Cecil, * openly uses great reverence to the 
Queen, ordinarily bare-headed, which she seems she 
would have otherwise, and will sometimes take his cap 
and put it on his head.' But it must have been as 
plain to him as to Mary that a tragic mistake had 
been made, and that he had overestimated the power 
of his own boldness, and of the complaisance of the 
lords. The principal people had all fallen away from 
them. Lethington was only biding his time trem- 
blingly until he could fly ; Huntly, himself in secret 
treaty with the lords, was also looking for an oppor- 
tunity to desert the sinking ship, to Mary's tearful 
indignation ; Sir James Balfour, the keeper of Edin- 
burgh Castle, with that insatiable itching palm of his, 
was listening eagerly to Sir James Melville's talk of 
patriotism and bribes, and undertook to hold the 
castle for the lords, and not for Bothwell, wheh the 
critical time came. The venal scamp was not a little 
influenced by the argument that, if he stood through 
thick and thin by Bothwell, the people would conclude 
that he was deeply concerned in the Darnley crime — 
which, in fact, he was; whereas, if he deserted him, 
he would be supposed innocent. James Balfour knew 
as well as any man the most profitable moment to 
desert a cause, and when he saw that the stronger 
. party had decreed that Bothwell was to be scapegoat 
for the crime of all, he arranged to desert him with 
characteristic alacrity, preferring like the rest of the 
false scoundrels to be a hound rather than the hunted 

In these circumstances, how could Mary avoid 


being beside herself with remorse that she had flung 
away her high hopes, her good name, her freedom, 
and her happiness, for the passing enjoyment of a 
sensual caprice ? Elizabeth, she knew, was sniggering 
joyfully behind her pawky mask over the false step 
her rival had made. The English queen could, in 
fact, have wished for nothing better than Mary's 
marriage with Bothwell, discrediting as it was to her 
in the eyes of the Catholics to marry a Protestant, and 
a man of rough manners, bad character, and inferior 
rank, Elizabeth could afford now to write cold stiff 
letters to the lords, reminding them of their duty to 
their sovereign ; for Mary had lost her international 
prestige through her marriage, and for the moment 
was not to be feared. Catharine de Medici was much 
more shocked than Elizabeth, for though the Bothwell 
marriage conjured away much of the immediate 
Spanish danger, it brought Scotland nearer to Pro- 
testant England than to France. Both Catharine and 
Elizabeth tried their hardest to persuade the lords to 
deliver the infant James to them, but Mar kept him 
tight in Stirling ; and the baby pledge, that would have 
given a pretext for French or English intervention in 
Scotland, was withheld, in spite of bribes and blandish- 
ments innumerable. The treacherous lords knew full 
well the babe's value to them as an instrument against 
his mother, and would not part with him. 

Mary lost no time in endeavouring to repair some 
of the injury which her marriage had done to her 
prospects. Chisholm, Bishop of Dunblane, was sent 
to France and Robert Melville to England with a 
similar story. It was necessary, said Mary, for her to 
marry ; the state of the country demanded it, and her 



nobility had urged her to do so, specially mentioning 
Bothwell as a fit match for her. She was young, and 
desired more offspring, and had consented. Bothwell, 
it is true, had used her roughly, but had afterwards 
purged his offence by submission. He had been 
legally divorced, and had been acquitted of the murder 
of Darnley, and Mary had acted for the best, and 
begged their friendship for her husband. The defence 
was a weak one, and was received both by Elizabeth 
and Catharine with contemptuous coolness, the great 
effort of each of the queens being, by special envoys 
and trimming messages to Mary, to prevent the 
influence of the other from becoming paramount in 
Scotland. From Spain Mary heard nothing direct, 
the action of the ambassadors in London and Paris 
being confined to throwing obstacles in the way of 
French intrigue in Scotland. 1 But Mary was a diplo- 
matist too experienced not to see that the all-powerful 
support of Philip, for which she had intrigued so long to 
aid her in obtaining the English throne, would never 
be at the command of a woman married in a heretic 
Church to a divorced Protestant. Connivance at 
murder would have been in Philip's sight a very 
venial offence in comparison with this; and it was 
only long afterwards, when the persecution of Mary 
had assumed an essentially Protestant character, and 
she was driven again to look exclusively to Catholics 
for support, that Philip once more slowly and cautiously 
pledged the power of Spain to aid her at the critical 

1 As an instance of this jealousy against French intervention in Scotland, 
Guzman urged Elizabeth repeatedly to get possession of the infant James 
rather than Catharine should do so. It suited Philip to have even Scotland 
Protestant rather than French (Spanish Calendar, vol. i.). 


moment of a Catholic rebellion in England and 

At length, in the early days of June 1567, all was 
ready for the final struggle that was to decide the fate 
of Scotland, perhaps of Europe. The lords had said 
that, so long as Bothwell did not attempt to capture 
the Prince by force, they would not move against 
him ; and Mar, when the demand for James was made 
in the name of the Queen and her husband, replied 
that he would only give him up if he were to be 
placed in Edinburgh Castle in proper custody. Per- 
haps some inkling of James Balfour's intended 
treachery came to Bothwell at the same time as this 
answer ; certainly he received warning of the intention 
of the lords to surround Holyrood with their forces 
and capture him. In any case, he and the Queen 
came to the conclusion that even Edinburgh Castle 
in Balfour's hands was no longer a safe refuge for 
them, and suddenly, on the 5th June, they rode 
together from Holyrood to the castle of Borthwick, a 
few miles from the capital, towards the Border, whither 
Mary had convened a muster of men to repress dis- 
order there. But the levies came not, for the Humes 
and other Border men were out under their chiefs, 
sworn to destroy the man who had used the Queen's 
weakness to engross the power of the Scottish nobility. 
Chagrined at finding that none flocked to his standard 
as they had been ordered to do, Bothwell hurried back 
from Liddcsdale to Borthwick. 

As evening fell on the 10th June a few men came 
flying to the castle gate, crying in feigned alarm that 
the rebels were pursuing them. Bothwell on the 
battlements was suspicious, and denied them entrance. 


The demeanour of the men soon proved that he was 
right, and that they were in fact but the forerunners 
of a great force of horsemen under Morton and 
Hume, coming to capture him. Borthwick could not 
stand a siege, and only just in time Bothwell fled, 
accompanied by young Crookstone, the son of the 
owner of the castle. Even as they rode they saw a 
party of the Humes pursuing them, and they sepa- 
rated, both flying different ways. Young Crookstone 
was caught, and truly told which road Bothwell had 
taken. He was but a bowshot off, and might have 
been captured, but the Bordermen disbelieving Crook- 
stone's story went the contrary way, and missed him, 
perhaps not altogether unwillingly, for he would have 
been a most inconvenient prisoner for some of them. 
But they shouted after him insults and challenges, of 
* murderer/ c butcher,' and the like, which probably 
relieved their minds. Nor did they spare Mary in 
their verbal outrages, to which we are told she replied 
in similar fashion, c wanting other means for her 
revenge/ * 

Finding their bird flown, the forces of the lords, 
joined by Mar, proceeded to Edinburgh, which they 
entered without opposition, the disinterested Balfour 
delivering the castle to them without a shot, as had 
been arranged beforehand (nth June). They had 
risen, they told the cheering townspeople, only to 
avenge the murder of Darnley. De Croc, the French 
ambassador, was active in endeavouring to bring about 
some arrangement between the Queen and her nobles, 
pointing out to the latter that they themselves had 
sanctioned the marriage, and had acquitted Bothwell 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. p. 249. 


of murder. But there was more at issue now than the 
question of BothwelTs guilt, and the Frenchman's 
efforts came to nothing, Mary answering him that if 
* the lords meant to attack her husband she desired no 
agreement with them.' l 

At no period of her career did Mary show more pluck 
and constancy than at this. If she had pleased she 
might have rid herself easily of Bothwell now. He 
had fled towards Haddington, and she was alone at 
Borthwick, with an army of his enemies within call of 
her. But she still clung to her love for him, the 
father of her unborn child ; and as soon as Lord 
Hume's force had turned away, though the night 
was late and dark, she dressed in a soldier's garb, 
mounted her courser, and scoured off to join her 
husband, who lurked in hiding awaiting her a few 
miles away. Just as the dawn of the 12th June was 
breaking, these two, almost alone, rode into the strong 
castle of Dunbar. Mary had thrown down the gaunt- 
let, and was at war with all the world, and with her 
own fate, for the sake of a coarse blackguard, whose 
masculinity had mastered her. 

In the meanwhile the forces of the lords in Edin- 
burgh were mustering apace, and Bothwell on his side 
had called together in Dunbar such of his Bordermen 
as would follow him. Thinking, doubtless, to take the 
rebels by surprise, the Queen and Bothwell on the 
14th June rashly abandoned the walls of Dunbar and 
hurried by forced marches towards Edinburgh with 
3500 men. On Sunday morning Mary's little army 
halted at Gladsmuir, and a proclamation was read to 
them giving the Queen's version of the dispute in 

1 De Croc to Charles ix. v Labanoff, vol. ii. p. 126. 


which they were asked to fight The rebels, she said, 
lied when they claimed as their object her own libera- 
tion from captivity, the revenge for the murder of her 
former husband, and the security of her child. None 
desired more than she to avenge Darnley ; her present 
husband had proved his innocence, which even the 
rebels had acknowledged in writing. As for her alleged 
captivity, that was disproved by her public marriage, 
at the recommendation of the very men now in arms 
against her. With this allocution, and promises of 
rich reward if her men fought for her bravely, Mary 
herself, clad in a red coat and velvet cap, and mounted 
on her charger, preceded by the royal standard of Scot- 
land, rode at the head of her troops to offer battle to 
those who defied her. With her were Bothwell, and 
Seton alone of the peers, and the Lairds of Yester, 
Ormiston, and Borthwick. 

Alarmed at midnight by the news of her coming, the 
lords set out from the capital before dawn on Sunday 
morning with their little army under Kirkcaldy of 
Grange, bearing before them the famous banner of 
white silk, upon which was painted the dead body of 
Darnley, with the infant James praying before it for 
vengeance upon his father's murderers. With almost 
religious fervour the troops of the nobles marched to 
consummate this sacred retribution, led thereto by 
some of the men deep in complicity in the crime. At 
Carberry Hill, overlooking Musselburgh, the Queen's 
army was halted, the two forces facing each other 
half a league distant, separated by a running brook. 
As the armies were forming, de Croc, the French 
ambassador, in much trepidation as to what he ought 
to do, rode up to the rebel force from Edinburgh, and 


besought the leaders to allow him to mediate before 
they drew a blade against their sovereign. There 
were only two ways of avoiding a conflict, they told 
him : first, for the Queen to leave the wretch she con- 
sorted with, and they would all serve her loyally on 
bended knee ; and second, for Bothwell to come out 
before the army and meet in single combat a lord who 
would maintain that he murdered the Queen's former 
husband. De Croc demurred at being made the bearer 
of these suggestions, and asked them rather to allow 
him to go and hear what the Queen had to say. They 
at first objected to this, but finally Lethington — who 
had fled from Mary and joined the lords some time 
before — spoke for his colleagues and consented, giving 
the Frenchman an escort of fifty horse under a flag of 

When he reached Mary he. found her haughtily 
indignant at the treachery of the lords, who had asked 
her to marry Bothwell, and now dared to make a crime 
of her having done so. If they would ask her pardon 
she would forgive them, but would make no other 
concession. Just then Bothwell rode up, and shouted, 
loud enough for his men to hear : ' Is it me they 
spite ? ' The Frenchman replied aloud that the lords 
professed entire loyalty to the Queen ; and then, 
sinking his voice to a whisper, said they were his 
(BothwelTs) mortal enemies. Bothwell blustered 
noisily that he had done no harm to any of them. 
They were jealous of his rise, and there was not one 
who did not wish himself in his place. Fortune was 
free for those who grasped it, as he had done. And 
then, assuming a quieter tone, he prayed de Croc to 
do his best to extricate the Queen from her trouble. 


If any of his enemies would meet him in single com- 
bat, he was ready. * No, no,' interposed Mary, * I will 
not suffer that ' : she would, she said, fight out the 
quarrel by his side. 

The colloquy was suddenly cut short by Bothwell, 
who noticed that the enemy were approaching as they 
talked, and had already crossed the brook. He 
banteringly told de Croc that if he stood and looked 
on, he would see more fun in the next hour or so than 
ever he had in his life ; and the Frenchman, full of 
admiration for the ruffian's bravery, could only fore- 
tell, in his own mind, that such a soldier as this was 
sure to win, if his men would stand by him ; and so 
with a word of praise to Bothwell, and a low bow 
to the Queen, who was in tears, de Croc rode off 
to the lords again, whom he found more determined 
than ever not to submit. 

For hours the two forces watched each other, both 
unwilling to commence the onslaught, which would have 
necessitated an unfavourable change of position for 
the attacking force. There is nothing that tries troops 
so much as inactivity such as this ; and, as the sun 
sank towards the west, BothwelTs rough levies began 
to break their ranks, and to murmur that terms had 
better be made. It was at length, after many par- 
leys, agreed that Bothwell should meet an opponent 
single-handed between the two armies, both of whom 
consented to abide by the result. Bothwell, apparently 
nothing loath, consented, and the Queen was at last 
persuaded. The Lairds of Grange and Tullibardinc 
challenged him ; but Mary would not hear of a simple 
laird fighting her ducal consort. A peer, at least, it 
must be : and a peer, Lord Lindsay, stood forth for the 


combat. Before the fight could begin the Queen's 
troops became quite disordered ; and seeing the hope- 
lessness of her cause in any event, Mary sent for the 
brave Kirkcaldy of Grange, a staunch Protestant, but, 
as she well knew, an honest man, and asked him what 
terms could be made. 'None for your husband/ replied 
Grange ; * we have all sworn to die or to obtain posses- 
sion of Bothwell.' As he was speaking to the Queen 
Bothwell secretly sent one of his men to shoot him ; 
but Mary, with a cry of horror, protested indignantly 
against such treachery. Kirkcaldy professed the readi- 
ness of all the lords to submit to her if she would 
leave her husband, the murderer of her former con- 
sort ; and as Bothwell listened, his heart began to fail 
him, for Lindsay was standing ready, and his adversary 
had no stomach for the fight. There was but one 
course now open for Mary. Her troops would not 
stand by her ; Bothwell, the man for whom she had 
risked all, was losing his nerve, 1 and her respect, as 
the moments fled. 

With a glance of contempt at the rabble around 
her, she turned to Grange and accepted his terms : 
loyalty and obedience to herself, their sovereign, and 
separation from the man she had made her husband, 
who, however, must not be harmed. Bothwell waited 
to hear no more. Mounting his horse, with a hasty 
word of farewell to the woman who had ruined herself, 
and a great cause, for love of him, he fled, surrounded 
by thirty spearmen, leaving the Queen to face her 
calamity alone. To have died with his face to his 

* The account of Carberry Hill is given on the authority of de Croc's 
letter to Charles ix., 17th June (Labanoff, vol. vii.) j Melville's Memoirs ; 
and Dmry p letters to Cecil (Foragn Calendar •, vol. viii.). 


accusers might have touched with one ray of heroism 
the base memory that for ever will be his ; but to 
seek his own safety at such a crisis of his life as 
this proves him to have been unworthy of the place 
to which Mary's love had raised him. 

With a breaking heart, but yet with queenly port, 
Mary watched the Duke of Orkney as he turned his 
back upon his and her foes ; and if anything could 
add to the bitter anguish of her humiliation, it was 
the knowledge that the gilded idol, before which she 
had sacrificed her happiness, had been proved before a 
mocking world to be the veriest dross. There was no 
pursuit of him, for his lordly accomplices were only 
too glad not to have to catch him, and Kirkcaldy 
had promised the Queen that he should not be in- 
jured. Sitting proudly erect upon her jennet, the 
defeated Queen was led down the hill to meet her 
conquerors ; Kirkcaldy and others, who still remem- 
bered they were gentlemen, chastising the sordid 
knaves who dared as she passed to revile her with 
coarse words. Morton and Lethington on bended 
knee, and in the name of their associates, professed 
their loyal duty and obedience in answer to the 
Queen's dignified surrender : * My lords, I am come 
to you, not out of any fear I have of my life, nor 
yet doubting of victory, if matters had come to 
the worst, but to save the effusion of Christian 
blood. I have come to you, trusting in your 
promises, that you will respect me, and give me 
the obedience due to your native Queen and law- 
ful sovereign/ 1 But, even as she spoke, the rebels 
closed around her, and held aloft, full in her sight, 

1 Keith. See also Melville's Memoirs. 
2 C 


the banner demanding from God vengeance upon 
Darnley's murderers. 

Many writers have dwelt unfavourably upon Mary's 
haughty scornfulness at this scene. She would have 
been more than human had she not been scornful. 
At her feet there grovelled, with lying protestations 
of loyalty and faith, the most hypocritical caitiff alive, 
demanding vengeance for the crime which he himself 
had planned; and in Mary's pocket there lay the 
paper that at the last moment Bothwell had handed 
her — the bond for Darnley's murder — signed by 
Lethington and known, at least, to Morton ! l With 
rising indignation and excitement Mary was led to 
Edinburgh, not as a queen, but as a prisoner. She did 
not spare her captors who thus treated her, swearing 
that she would have Lindsay's head for that day's 
work, and declaring vociferously against the indignity 
to which she was subjected. But half-demented words, 
and tearful appeals to passing strangers for rescue, 
were drowned by the howls and execrations of the 
rabble by which she was surrounded ; and, fainting 
and hysterical, the unhappy woman was lodged in a 
strong room in the provost's house, with the horrible 
banner of vengeance fluttering above her window. 2 

In the middle of the night she cried in her rage 
from the casement that her subjects should release 
her ; but, though many flocked to hear her cries, 

1 If this was the original document, it must have been taken from her 
during her captivity. Drury wrote to Cecil on the 28th October 1567 
(Foreign Calendar, vol. viit. p. 363) that the bond had been burnt to ashes 

( the same not unknown tq the Queen. The part that concerns her has 

signatures on the bond was a principal reason why Morton and Lethington, 

been kept to be shown/ It is certain that Mary's knowledge of the 

at least, were so anxious to prevent her release 5 and she constantly — though 
it seems unwisely — threatened them with her knowledge. 
1 Melville's Memoirs. 


no hand was raised to help her. Seeing Lething- 
ton, her erstwhile secretary, pass beneath her win- 
dow, she begged him to come to her ; but he 
pulled his hat over his brows and slunk away. 1 
The imprisonment of a monarch was no light 
matter for the lords, and the position was full of 
danger for them. Kirkcaldy, upon whose promise 
Mary had surrendered, indignantly demanded that 
the promise should be kept. But the keeping of 
promises was not in Morton's nature, and he had 
gone too far to look back. He had other plans 
now. Murray, he knew, was hurrying home from 
France, and though Huntly, Argyle, and a few 
Hamiltons and Catholics were inclined to desert 
them for the Queen, it was evident that the 
specious cry of vengeance against Darnley's mur- 
derers had given to the rebels the support of the 
great majority of the people ; and so long as Mary 
was out of the way, there was apparently nothing 
to prevent Murray, Morton, and their friends from 
ruling Scotland at their will for the next twenty 
years in the name of the infant whom they proposed 
to crown. 

But somehow, the lingering sympathy of the people 

1 But Mary appears subsequently to have had an interview with 
Lethington during her twenty-four hours'* imprisonment in Edinburgh, 
and there are several versions of what passed. The Queen appears to have 
refused to abandon Bothwell, and asked to be placed on board a ship with 
him to drift where the wind might carry them. According to Nau, Mary 
threatened Lethington, if he went too far, to disclose the fact that he had 
signed the murder bond, and said that she could hang him. Certainly 
Lethington was in mortal fear of her, and his strange, and almost incom- 
prehensible, subsequent tergiversation is probably explained by that fact. 
He was always ready to advocate the worst measures against her, even her 
secret murder, whilst she was helpless, and to veer round to her favour 
when she seemed strong. He was her worst enemy after her surrender 
at Carberry, and yet he died for her when her cause grew hopeful. 


for a captive queen must be alienated still further 
as an excuse for deposing her. When, therefore, 
Kirkcaldy grew threatening, Lethington was able to 
produce what purported to be a letter written by Mary 
to Bothwell that night and intercepted. * Dear heart/ 
it ran, c I will never forget or abandon you, though I 
need be absent from you for a time. Be comforted, 
and on your guard : for your safety's sake did I send 
you away from me.' Whether Mary wrote the letter 
or not, who shall say? for it was never produced 
subsequently : but it served its turn ; and the very 
children in the streets cried shame upon the woman 
who thus clave to the murderer of her husband. 
Kirkcaldy pleaded still. Give her time, he said, 
she will forget him by and by ; and she had 
already left him. When she did forget him, re- 
plied Morton, they would think about it ; but their 
lives and lands depended upon her being in safe 
keeping in the meantime. Mary, in her pride and 
anger — and still with a lingering love for Bothwell 
— may well have refused in the first days of cap- 
tivity wholly to abandon thoughts of the man she 
had married. The lords, at least, gave out that 
she swore she would never consent to his punish- 
ment, and had vowed to touch no meat until she 
should see him again. 

With such stories, true or false, the traitors worked 
their will. The streets rang with the cry, c Burn her ! 
kill her ! drown her ! ' l and, late at night on the 16th 
June, the Queen of Scots was smuggled out of the city 
to the island fortress in Lochleven, to ponder at her 
leisure on the base treachery of which she had been a 

1 Foreign Cakudar, vol viii. p. 256. 


victim. To add one more touch to her martyrdom, 
she was warded at Lochleven by Murray's mother, her 
own father's mistress, and her son, William Douglas, 
Morton's close kinsman. Mary's conduct in shutting 
her eyes, if she did nothing worse, to what she must 
have known was the intended murder of Darnley, 
was shameful ; and according to the ethics of to-day 
monstrous. But she did not suffer for this offence 
her punishment at the hands of men more guilty of 
the crime than she. That was the excuse they needed 
to arouse against her the indignation of the people 
both in Scotland and abroad ; to afford Murray and 
Morton the opportunity of usurping power; and 
afterwards to provide Elizabeth with a means of 
reducing Mary's international importance. Her real 
offence, in the eyes of the mass of the nobles who 
persecuted and deposed her, was in clinging to the 
blackguard with whom she had fallen in love, even 
after he had shown by his actions that he intended to 
use his position as consort for the purpose of dwarfing 
his wife, of ousting from the government the rest of 
the nobles, and of monopolising the power himself. 

The providential discovery of the Casket Papers 
in the hands of a retainer of BothwelTs, 1 who had 
obtained them from the Castle by his master's orders 
only three days after Mary's deportation to Loch- 
leven, placed in the hands of Morton and the rest of 

1 This George DaJglcish, with Ormiston, Powry, Hepburn of Bowton, 
Captain Blackater, and other henchmen of Bothwell, was shortly after- 
wards hanged for complicity in Damley's murder. Sir James Balfour, 
whose share in the tragedy was as active as that of Bothwell himself, 
remained in high office and honour in Edinburgh at the time; as did 
another of the actual murderers, Morton's cousin Archibald Douglas, after- 

wards Scottish ambassador in England, a scoundrel so corrupt as to be 
almost grotesque. There are great numbers of his letters testifyi 
in the Hatfield Paper: (Hist. mss. Com.). 


the lords the very evidence they required to alienate 
the sympathies of the world from the Queen, and 
enable them to exclude her from the government of 
her realm. Whether the papers were wholly or only 
partly forged does not to a great extent affect the 
question of her guilt, so far as concerns her prior 
knowledge of the intended crime, and her attachment 
to Bothwell before and after its commission ; but 
without some such documents as those said to have 
been discovered, Morton, Lethington, Balfour, and the 
rest of them could not have persecuted her without 
inculpating themselves ; not to mention the ' stainless ' 
Murray, though he only * looked through his fingers ' 
afar off whilst the deed was done, and took care to 
sign no bond sanctioning the murder. 

With the devilish weaving of the web around Mary 
whilst she was a prisoner by Morton, Murray, and 
Lethington, and their successful usurpation of the 
government in the name of the infant James, this 
book cannot deal. The seizure and judgment of 
sovereigns by subjects in the sixteenth century was a 
matter so grave that no ordinary transgression on the 
part of Mary would have been considered by other 
crowned heads a sufficient pretext for it. But, as we 
see by Murray's interview with Guzman in London 
in July, 1 when the former knew that some letters, 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. i. p. 664. Murray in this important 
interview told the ambassador that Mary was fully cognisant of the inten- 
tion to murder Darnley; and he made no concealment of his design to 
undertake the government of the country in consequence of this. Of 
course, being Murray, he made out that he could not do otherwise even in 
the interest of the Queen herself, whom he professed a wish to release from 
captivity. The nobles who had imprisoned her were his own partisans, he 
said, and held the strongholds, that he was powerless to attack in force. 
His only chance was to obtain possession of the government by fair means 
and then act for the best. As usual his ' best ' was the best for James 
Stuart, Earl of Murray. 


horribly compromising Mary, were in the hands of 
Morton, every indignant remonstrance against the 
impiety of Mary's treatment was met by hints that 
her guilt in the murder, and her adulterous attach- 
ment to the chief murderer, made her unworthy of 
consideration by her subjects. 

It soon became apparent that Mary's chief friends 
outside Scotland were the throughgoing Catholic 
party. Catharine de Medici and her son, whilst 
professing to be shocked at Mary's treatment, sur- 
passed themselves in their efforts to gain a footing in 
Scotland through Murray and the lords. Villeroy, 
Lignerolles, and other envoys sent from France, 
ostensibly to see and comfort Mary, were almost 
rudely refused access to her ; but they continued to 
be fulsome in their court and offers of aid to Murray. 
The policy of Cecil and the English Protestants would 
have been the same, but Elizabeth's superstitious 
respect for royalty, as against subjects, sadly hampered 
her ministers. She scolded Murray soundly as he 
passed through London, and almost commanded him 
to release his sister as soon as he arrived in Scotland. 
Murray for the time was in no mood for submission. 
He was being assiduously courted by the French, and 
he promptly let Throckmorton and other English agents 
understand that he would allow no dictation from Eng- 
land, and if Elizabeth would not aid the Protestants 
Catharine would. Bedford and Throckmorton, and 
even Cecil himself, were in despair that their hands 
were thus tied by Elizabeth's royalist traditions, 1 and 
only with much remonstrance could they persuade her 
formally to receive an envoy from the Regent after 

1 See their letters in the autumn of 1567 (Foreign Calendar, vol. viii.). 


the infant James was crowned. But though Eliza- 
beth's personal leanings somewhat weakened the action 
of her government, the general tendency in England, 
as elsewhere, was for the Protestant element to accept 
readily the statements that made Mary appear so guilty 
as to justify her gaolers in permanently disabling a 
Queen whose dream it was to make Great Britain 
Catholic. The Catholic party, whilst scandalised at 
Mary's marriage with a divorced man, were inclined to 
minimise her faults, and to gather around her as their 
only hope of saving the ancient faith in Scotland, and 
perhaps of restoring it in England. 

During her imprisonment in Lochleven, indeed, the 
forces for and against Mary gradually ranged them- 
selves on more or less religious lines. Mary's French 
Dominican confessor, on his way home in July 1567, 
had a long talk with Guzman in London in which this 
tendency was observable. His one and only subject 
for reprobation of Mary's conduct was her marriage 
with a divorced man, against which he (the confessor) 
had vehemently protested. ' She was not only a good, 
but a very devout Catholic, and he swore to me 
solemnly that until the question of the marriage with 
Bothwell was raised, he never saw a woman of greater 
virtue, courage, and uprightness . . . though she 
declared to him that she contracted the marriage with 
the object of settling religion by that means. Those 
who had risen against the Queen had not been moved 
by zeal to punish the King's murderers, as they had 
been the King's enemies . . . nor in consequence 
of the marriage, as they had been all in favour of 
it, and had signed their names to that effect without 
exception, either lay or clerical, apart from the Earl 


of Murray ; but their sole object had been a religious 

one/ l 

The unsophisticated confessor secretly amused the 
diplomatist to whom he was talking by suggesting that 
the two great Catholic powers, France and Spain, 
should joindy demand Mary's release. He little 
knew, good man, that in the struggle then going on 
between England and France respectively to utilise 
Mary's troubles to gain a footing in Scotland, Spain 
was rather on the side of Protestant England than on 
that of Catholic France. Anything was better for 
Philip than the strengthening of French influence in 
Britain. In this clash of interests, in which to a great 
extent the fate of the Reformation was involved, the 
personal sufferings and troubles of Mary Stuart were 
quite a secondary consideration. She, a prisoner and 
an outraged Queen, might be pitied platonically by 
other crowned heads, as she was, especially by Eliza- 
beth, for the reasons already stated ; but whilst she 
was a prisoner she could be of no use to their respec- 
tive policies, and it was the actual government of 
Scotland, and not the Queen, that for a time became 
the centre of intrigue for the contending powers. 2 In 
this contest Elizabeth's government obviously possessed 
the great advantage of neighbourhood and of having 
been for years the paymaster and defender of the lcad- 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. i. p. 663. 

8 When Throckmorton was sent to Scotland by Elizabeth in July to 
remonstrate with the lords, and request them to release Mary on her promise 
that Darnley's murderers should be punished, Throckmorton wrote to Cecil 
{Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. p. 278) that he was * sorry to see the Queen's 
disposition alters not towards the fords, for when all is done it is they who 
must stand her in more stead than the Queen, her cousin." Lethington's 
clever attempt to force Elizabeth's hand to help the lords by persuading 
Throckmorton that they were deep in negotiations with the French may 
be followed in Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. 


ing nobles who had deposed their Queen, namely, 
Morton, Lethington, 1 and Murray, with their strong 
Protestant supporters. 

Whilst political anarchy raged without, Mary, 
secluded in her island prison, with only two or three 
menial servants to accompany her, passed the first few 
days of her confinement in irreconcilable indignation, 
eating nothing, and taking not even the scanty exercise 
possible to her ; but soon news reached her that the 
Hamiltons were resenting her imprisonment, and that 
Huntly, Argyle, Herries, Seton, Fleming, and other 
nobles, more or less Catholic, had joined them at 
Dumbarton, pledged to liberate the Queen ; and once 
more her courage rose. Lord Ruthven, the son of 
that peer who had presided at the murder of Rizzio, 
was for a short time placed in joint charge of her ; 
but the gaolers soon noticed that the young man was 
softening under Mary's pathetic glances, 2 and he was 
hurriedly removed, a very different man, Lord Lind- 
say, assuming, with the Laird of Lochleven, Sir William 
Douglas, the chief ward of her. To all appeals to 
renounce Bothwell for good she gave a haughty reply 
in the negative. ' She will live and die with him, and 
says that, if it were put to her choice she would leave 
her kingdom and dignity to live as a simple damsel 
with him, and she will never consent that he shall fare 
worse or have more harm than herself/ 8 To Lindsay's 
suggestions on behalf of his colleagues, that she should 
agree to a divorce, she replied — as she did to a similar 
hint from Throckmorton — that she would rather die, 
* as she was seven weeks gone with child, and if she 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. pp. 264, 268, etc 

2 Throckmorton to Cecil, 14th July {Foreign Calendar, vol. viii.). 

3 Ibid. 


renounced him she would acknowledge herself mother 
of a bastard.' l She prayed that she should have better 
treatment, and offered to commit the government to 
Murray when he should arrive, or to old Chatelherault ; 
but this did not suit Morton and his friends, and on 
the 24th July her act of abdication was placed before 
her for signature. When it had first been proposed to 
her she had angrily refused to sign it ; though artful 
Lethington, to curry favour in case she should ever be 
released, sent Melville to tell her that whatever she 
signed in duress would not be binding when she was 
free ; and Throckmorton, though he was not allowed 
to see her, succeeded in conveying similar assurance to 
her. At first she refused to resort to subterfuge ; 
but when swaggering Lindsay roughly demanded her 
signature to the abdication, she deigned to contend no 
more, and by the stroke of her pen James Stuart at 
the age of thirteen months became King of Scotland, 
with Murray, who was still absent, as first Regent. 

But still the rebel lords grew daily more uneasy. 
Elizabeth coldly held aloof and hectored them 
haughtily upon their insolence to a crowned queen. 
Mary stood firm in her refusal to abandon Bothwell ; 
and the Hamiltons, with Huntly, Argyle, and the 
Catholic lords, were threatening them from Dumbarton. 
If ever Mary regained her freedom, Morton and his 
friends well knew that their shrift would be a short 
one ; and until Murray's arrival Mary was in hourly 
danger of death. Throckmorton again and again 
prayed Elizabeth to speak less harshly to the lords, in 
order that they might not be driven out of fear to end 
the Queen's life. Tullibardine positively told Throck- 

i Throckmorton to Cecil, 14th July (Foreign Calendar, vol. viii.). 


morton that the Ham il tons, Huntly, and their friends 
were only in arms against the lords because the latter 
did not kill the Queen. * If she be suffered to live, 
she will be free some time, and they will suffer. But 
if the lords will kill her, all will run the same course/ 
Throckmorton said they could put her to better use 
than that, by marrying her to one of them. ' Yes,' 
replied Tullibardine, * that has been discussed by us, 
but her death is really the only way out of the 
difficulty. The Archbishop of St. Andrews and the 
Abbot of Kilwinning have both urged it within the last 
forty-eight hours.' * 

Once in the middle of July the lords fell into a 
panic, and Lethington incontinently fled, on the news 
reaching them that Mary had escaped. It was nearly 
true. With her inexplicable charm she had already 
captivated hearts even in Lochleven ; and a boat had 
been left loose and unguarded on the shore where she 
walked. Entering it alone, she essayed to reach the 
mainland, but she had not gone far when a lookout on 
the castle espied her and raised an alarm. Thence- 
forward her imprisonment was made more rigorous, 
and she was confined in the tower of the castle. 2 
When Murray arrived in Scotland and saw his sister 
in August, her danger became somewhat less acute. 
He dared not release her, even if he had wished to do 
so, 8 for he had to depend upon the other lords for his 

1 Throckmorton to Cecil, 9th August 1567 (Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. 
p. 309). 

* Spanish Calendar, Elizabeth, vol. i., and Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. 

8 Before Murray arrived Throckmorton reported (14th July): 'The 
chiefest lords here dare not show the Queen so much lenity as they would, 
for fear of the rage of the people. The women be most furious and 
impudent against the Queen, and yet the men be mad enough (Scottish 
Calendar, Bain, vol. ii.). There is no doubt that the agitation against her, 
especially in the Protestant pulpits, had rendered her extremely unpopular 


authority; but he succeeded in persuading Mary, not 
without some foundation, that he alone stood between 
her and death ; and she herself begged him to accept 
the regency. Thenceforward it was almost as much 
to his interest as to that of Morton that Mary should 
never again be free. 

Nothing proves more strongly the extraordinary 
personal fascination of Mary Stuart than the events 
that followed her incarceration at Lochleven. She 
went there surrounded by Douglases and enemies, 
warded by Murray's mother and his half-brother, a 
close kinsman of Morton. She was broken-hearted 
and desperate, in delicate health, and her condition 
was aggravated by the frequent agues and low fevers 
induced by a damp residence. Most women in such 
circumstances, in hourly fear of death, outraged and 
betrayed as she had been, would have pined and lost 
heart. Not so Mary Stuart. After her nearly suc- 
cessful attempt at flight in July she was for a time 
shut up in the strictest seclusion ; and yet on the 5th 
August, only three weeks later, Throckmorton re- 
ported that the lords were desperate, and at their wits' 
end to know what to do with her. c The occasion is 
that she has won the favour and goodwill of the 
house, men as well as women, and thereby she means 
to have great intelligence, and was in towardness to 
have escaped. Also they would have her relinquish 

with the common people in Edinburgh, as no doubt it was intended to do 
by the rebel lords, as it enabled them to shift some of their responsibility on 
to the populace. The real difficulty to her release, almost on any terms, 
was, however, the fear of Morton and his party of her vengeance if she 
were free {Spanish Calendar, Hume, voL i. p. 664). Murray in his two 
interviews with Mary in August seems to have treated her more as strict 
father-confessor than as a subject exhorting her to repentance for her 
crimes, of which he seemed to entertain no doubt ' (Keith, p. 445). See 
also Teulet, Papier* JEtat. 


Bothwell ; whereof I do not now so much despair as 
heretofore.' * 

Mary's passion for Bothwell was passing. He was 
wandering afloat, seeking a safe refuge and finding it 
not, and was shortly to fall into Danish hands to be 
kept in prison as a pirate for the rest of his life. 
There had been nothing heroic or magnanimous in his 
behaviour towards Mary. Even in the dire trouble 
that now surrounded her she yearned for enjoyment 
and personal pleasure: her obstinate refusal to give 
up Bothwell at the dictation of the lords was mainly 
the result of pride; but when it was evident to her that 
her own wellbeing would be served by putting aside 
the memory of him, she philosophically did so, and 
turned her fascination to the conquest of others, who 
could better than he minister to her present comfort. 
She had now been provided with proper attendants 
of rank, and personal servants. Lady Murray had 
visited her affectionately, and they had shed many 
tears together, and evidently before the end of Sep- 
tember Mary had surrounded herself with friends, and 
with such comfort and elegance as her situation 
allowed. 1 Murray reported to Bedford, on the 25th 
September, that she was * in as good health of person, 
as lusty, and to appearance as merrily disposed, as at 
any time since her arrival in the realm ' ; and shortly 
afterwards Robert Melville told Drury that she 
'waxes fat, and instead of choler makes show of 
mirth, and has already drawn divers to pity her who 
before envied her and wished her evil, Murray's 
mother for one.' 

1 Foreign Calendar, vol. viii. p. 309. 

8 She wrote, for instance, to Sir Robert Melville for a supply of bright- 
coloured silk, and for materials for embroidery at this time. 


thwarted, cleverly used Lady Douglas's ambition for 
her younger son to set her against the elder. c Look/ 
she said, 'what a kind brother George hath of 
Murray* ; and although young George was forbidden 
the house, c yet it is thought that he hath secret 
recourse there, and the affection is great. The Queen's 
liberty by favour, force, or stealth is speedily looked for.' 1 
This was written on the 20th March, and the predic- 
tion in it soon became true. Mary had already turned 
all her enemies at Lochleven into friends. On the 
14th April she changed garments with her laundress, 
and whilst the latter remained in the Queen's apart- 
ment Mary entered her boat to be conveyed to the 
mainland in the character of the laundress. George 
Douglas with horses was awaiting her on the opposite 
shore. The boatmen had strict orders from the laird 
to see the face of every woman that left the island, 
but Mary was closely veiled, and they insisted upon 
her putting aside the silk that hid her features. She 
refused, and when they attempted to force the veil 
apart, she put up her hand in defence. Alas! no 
laundress's hand was like that which had inspired the 
verses of a score of poets. The beautiful white hand 
betrayed her ; and though she threatened the boatmen 
with death if they disobeyed her commands to land her 
on the mainland, the anger of their chief was a more 
immediate danger than the threat of a captive queen, 
and Mary, in tears of rage, was rowed back to the 
castle. But, even so, the boatmen loyally kept her 
secret from the laird, and the way was still left open 
for a more fortunate opportunity. 2 

1 Drury to Cecil, 20th March 1568 {Foreign Calendar > vol. viii.). 

* Only the day before her escape (1st May) she wrote two pathetic letters 



George Douglas, aided by his mother and by many 
of Mary's servants, was tireless in his plotting with 
her adherents, and it was certain that, sooner or later, 
the Queen must escape, if she were not murdered to 
prevent it. Her party in the west had grown in 
cohesion. Individually the leaders were a poor lot. 
Hamilton, Argyle, Herries, Huntly, and the Arch- 
bishop of St. Andrews, all of them either feeble fools 
or faithless wretches, but they were powerful in their 
own lands, and, whilst united, quite able to hold their 
own against Murray and the distracted lords in Edin- 
burgh. The third attempt of Mary to escape was 
more successful. All the arrangements for flight to 
safety had been carefully organised by George Douglas, 
who, late in the evening of the 2nd May 1568, stood 
upon the shore opposite Lochleven Castle with the 
Laird of Riccarton (a Hepburn), John Beaton, and ten 
horsemen, with a spare horse saddled for Mary. 

Sir William Douglas and his household sat at 
supper, doubtless disarmed of suspicion by his 
mother ; and in the gathering, darkness a trusted 
retainer, Willie Douglas, born in the house, a humble 
member of the family, stole the keys, and quietly 
led the Queen from her chamber to the outer air, 
locking all the gates after him, and preventing 
pursuit by carrying with him the Lochleven horses 

to Catharine and Elizabeth, praying them to aid her liberation by force, or 
she would remain a prisoner all her life. To Elizabeth she sent as a token 
the ring that Randolph had brought her from the English queen : * Car 
<vous saury comme man frtre Moray a tout ce que jay* She prays passion- 
ately that her letters may be burned, and that none may know she has 
written, or it may cost the bearer his life, and cause her further suffering. 
To Catharine only she says that all Scotland will rise against Murray and 
Morton, if it sees that the French are in earnest. It would not hare been 
wise to tell Elizabeth that j but yet she was much more earnest for Mary's 
release than Catharine (Labanoff, vol. ii. p. 67). 


thwarted, cleverly used Lady Douglas's ambition for 
her younger son to set her against the elder. c Look/ 
she said, 'what a kind brother George hath of 
Murray*; and although young George was forbidden 
the house, c yet it is thought that he hath secret 
recourse there, and the affection is great. The Queen's 
liberty by favour, force, or stealth is speedily looked for.' * 
This was written on the 20th March, and the predic- 
tion in it soon became true. Mary had already turned 
all her enemies at Lochlev6n into friends. On the 
14th April she changed garments with her laundress, 
and whilst the latter remained in the Queen's apart- 
ment Mary entered her boat to be conveyed to the 
mainland in the character of the laundress. George 
Douglas with horses was awaiting her on the opposite 
shore. The boatmen had strict orders from the laird 
to see the face of every woman that left the island, 
but Mary was closely veiled, and they insisted upon 
her putting aside the silk that hid her features. She 
refused, and when they attempted to force the veil 
apart, she put up her hand in defence. Alas! no 
laundress's hand was like that which had inspired the 
verses of a score of poets. The beautiful white hand 
betrayed her ; and though she threatened the boatmen 
with death if they disobeyed her commands to land her 
on the mainland, the anger of their chief was a more 
immediate danger than the threat of a captive queen, 
and Mary, in tears of rage, was rowed back to the 
castle. But, even so, the boatmen loyally kept her 
secret from the laird, and the way was still left open 
for a more fortunate opportunity. 2 

1 Drury to Cecil, 20th March 1568 {Foreign Calendar \ vol. viii.). 

* Only the day before her escape (1st May) she wrote two pathetic letters 


George Douglas, aided by his mother and by many 
of Mary's servants, was tireless in his plotting with 
her adherents, and it was certain that, sooner or later, 
the Queen must escape, if she were not murdered to 
prevent it. Her party in the west had grown in 
cohesion. Individually the leaders were a poor lot. 
Hamilton, Argyle, Herries, Huntly, and the Arch- 
bishop of St. Andrews, all of them either feeble fools 
or faithless wretches, but they were powerful in their 
own lands, and, whilst united, quite able to hold their 
own against Murray and the distracted lords in Edin- 
burgh. The third attempt of Mary to escape was 
more successful. All the arrangements for flight to 
safety had been carefully organised by George Douglas, 
who, late in the evening of the 2nd May 1568, stood 
upon the shore opposite Lochleven Castle with the 
Laird of Riccarton (a Hepburn), John Beaton, and ten 
horsemen, with a spare horse saddled for Mary. 

Sir William Douglas and his household sat at 
supper, doubtless disarmed of suspicion by his 
mother ; and in the gathering darkness a trusted 
retainer, Willie Douglas, born in the house, a humble 
member of the family, stole the keys, and quietly 
led the Queen from her chamber to the outer air, 
locking all the gates after him, and preventing 
pursuit by carrying with him the Lochleven horses 

to Catharine and Elizabeth, praying them to aid her liberation by force, or 
she would remain a prisoner all her life. To Elizabeth she sent as a token 
the ring that Randolph had brought her from the English queen : * Car 
*vous sauey comme man frere Moray a tout a qui jay.* She prays passion- 
ately that her letters may be burned, and that none may know she has 
written, or it may cost the bearer his life, and cause her further suffering. 
To Catharine only she says that all Scotland will rise against Murray and 
Morton, if it sees that the French are in earnest. It would not have been 
wise to tell Elizabeth that $ but yet she was much more earnest for Mary's 
release than Catharine (Labanoff, vol. ii. p. 67). 


and scuttling all the boats but one barge, in which 
Mary and her maid entered with Willie Douglas as 
sole oarsman. Doubtless money had been spent in 
plenty in silencing servants and guards, and all was 
managed so swiftly and noiselessly that Mary was 
far on her way and .out of danger before her flight 
was discovered. Loving George Douglas carried 
the Queen ashore, and in the gathering darkness 
the little cavalcade set off, carrying with it, as 
it seemed, the fate of Scotland, perhaps of the 
Reformation. Two miles away they found Lord 
Seton and one of the Hamiltons with thirty armed 
horsemen. A few miles further on Lord Claude 
Hamilton with twenty horsemen joined them, and 
without halting they sped on to Niddry, Lord 
Seton's place. Here Mary stayed a few hours, 
but rested not. She was a Queen again, free now 
from the wretched passion that had obscured her 
political judgment, and intent upon recapturing the 
position she had temporarily sacrificed. John Beaton 
was sent flying south to England and to France to 
inform the sovereigns of her escape. But, even in 
this crisis of her fate, Mary did not forget that her 
hopes must rest not upon Elizabeth or Catharine, 
but upon Philip ; and though she dared not write 
to the latter with watchful Scottish eyes upon her, 
she gave to Beaton a verbal message which Guzman 
in London was to convey to his master. She had, 
she told him, escaped, thank God ! and would now 
show how blameless she was of the evil acts attributed 
to her ; and that those who. had kept her in durance 
were the principal culprits. She prayed for advice; 
and said that she was as firm and constant a Catholic 


as ever. She was, however, penniless, and had no 
garments but the servant's disguise in which she 
escaped ; and she begged that if Murray tried to 
sell or pawn her jewels in Flanders, the Duke of 
Alba would embargo them for her. 1 The distance 
from Lochleven to Niddry had worked this change 
— Mary was herself again. 

From Niddry she rode with an escort led by Lord 
Herries to Hamilton ; and there, as if by enchant- 
ment, from all sides the nobles flocked to salute their 
liberated sovereign. Murray was holding an assize 
at Glasgow when he heard the news (3rd May). He 
immediately summoned the lieges to the King's assist- 
ance, and proclaimed as rebels all Mary's abettors; 
whilst € Mary by the grace of God, undoubted and 
righteous Queen of Scotland,' issued such a counter- 
blast as few crowned heads have ever set their hands 
to. Murray is scourged with scorpions. * A beastly 
traitor' ; c a spurious bastard'; and 'a bastard traitor' : 
he was to blame for everything, — for the destruction 
of the Gordons, for Bothwell's violation of the Queen, 
and for all the conspiracies against her. Everything 
that had been done by the lords, and the signatures 
extorted from herself whilst in prison, were revoked ; 
Chatelherault, 'her dearest adopted father,' and his 
heirs were to be for ever accepted, after her issue, 
as sovereigns of Scotland ; and she charged all good 
subjects to aid her in punishing € these vile usurpers.' 
* The unworthy traitor * Lethington comes in for his 
share of the castigation, as he richly deserved to do. 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. Her clothes, however, were sent to 
her a few days afterwards from Lochleven. Morton had for some time 
been trying to raise money in England on the jewels. Riccarton was also 
despatched from Niddry to capture Dunbar, but failed in the attempt. 


* The ingrate traitor, James Balfour,' is not spared ; 
nor is Morton's base cousin, the * shameless butcher,' 
George Douglas, with other c hell hounds and bloody 
tyrants, and a great number of godless traitors, com- 
mon murderers, and throat-cutters, whom no prince, 
be he neither heathen nor Turk, could pardon or 

On the 8th May, at Hamilton, the nobles of Mary's 
party signed their bond to aid her ; and their sig- 
natures prove that the dividing-line had now become 
mainly religious. Of the nine earls who subscribed it, 
the only one belonging to the traditional Protestant 
English party was Argyle, nearly all the barons, 
lairds, and bishops belonging also to the conser- 
vative or anti-English party. The moving spirit 
in the assembly was that bad Hamilton bastard 
Archbishop of St. Andrews, who had been * every- 
thing by turns and nothing long,' and who was 
eventually beheaded by Lennox for complicity in 
the Darnley murder, as Morton was subsequently 
by James. Not nobles alone flocked to Mary's 
standard, for within a week of her arrival at 
Hamilton some five or six thousand rough clans- 
men had joined her. They were a savage, undis- 
ciplined host of western men, inferior in arms and 
efficiency to the force that Murray and Morton 
were able to bring into the field; and considerable 
difference of opinion prevailed in Mary's counsels 
as to the wisdom of at once risking battle. The 
Queen wisely advocated a retirement into the strong 
castle of Dumbarton, until by diplomacy and con- 
ciliation her party in the country should be rendered 
irresistible ; but the fiery old Archbishop, who only 


a few weeks before was represented by Tullibardine 
to have urged her immediate murder, had-the interests 
of his own house to serve : his idea being to over- 
throw Murray by a prompt battle, marry the Queen 
to his nephew, Lord Abroath, Chatelherault's second 
son, and himself become paramount ruler of Scotland. 
Unfortunately, the majority of the lords agreed with 
him, and it was decided to risk everything on the 
hazard of combat. 

On the 13th May 1568 Mary and her army set 
out from Hamilton to march to Dumbarton, the 
intention being to accept battle if it was offered by 
the Regent on the way. Murray's force, though 
numerically smaller than that of his opponents, was 
much stronger in artillery, the guns from Stirling 
having been sent by Mar, and the spearmen being 
better mounted and armed. Murray and Kirkcaldy, 
moreover, were commanders far more able than any 
in the service of the Queen, and the choice of the 
battle-ground by the former proved their superior 
generalship. Stationing the main body of his force 
on the hill of Langsyde, overlooking Govan Moor on 
the outskirts of Glasgow, Murray was in a position 
to bar the way of Mary's army to Dumbarton. The 
ground commanded by the hill was broken and much 
divided by hedges, buildings, and enclosures, and the 
Queen's undisciplined but numerous cavalry were 
hampered in their onward movement. The Qiieen's 
advance-guard of two thousand mounted Hamilton 
men was ambushed and enfiladed in a narrow 
passage through the village, and was thrown into 
confusion. An attempt was made to charge up- 
hill the main body of the Regent's force, but the 


assailants reached the fray panting and exhausted by 
their climb ; and, though they fought stubbornly, 
they never had a chance of victory. Mary's main 
force, moreover, was badly led — Argyle, the com- 
mander-in-chief, fainting with fright at the first 
shock, and being thenceforward useless. On the 
other hand, Kirkcaldy, the best leader in Scotland, en- 
joyed the full confidence of his men ; whilst Murray, 
Morton, and Hume were cool, brave, and skilful 
generals. The result of the fight in such circum- 
stances was inevitable. After three-quarters of an 
hour of furious struggle on the hill the Queen's 
men were driven headlong down in flight. The 
rest was confusion, pursuit, and slaughter, lasting 
for hours. Three hundred of Mary's troops were 
captured and as many killed ; and the Queen, recog- 
nising long before the fight was over that all was 
lost, fled precipitately from the eminence from which 
she witnessed the ruin of her hopes, accompanied 
only by Lord Herries and a small guard. 

Mary had been as brave as a lioness at Dunbar, 
Borthwick, and Carberry, so long as she had a strong 
man with her ; but at Langsyde, perhaps recognising 
to the full the awful significance of the struggle, 
her heart failed her, and she fled without awaiting 
the issue. For sixty miles she rode on that dread- 
ful day without rest to Dumfries ; and then, travelling 
by night only, snatching such sleep as she might upon 
the bare ground, feeding upon beggars' fare, haggard, 
travel-stained, and wellnigh in rags, the Queen pushed 
onward still for many miles away from the scene of 
terror she had left. With no woman near her, guarded 
only by the few companions of her flight, this pleasure- 


loving, great-hearted woman fled, beaten, helpless, and 
nearly hopeless, cursing her fate and the treachery and 
folly that had brought her to it. When she arrived 
at the banks of the Solway, there before her, just 
across the strip of water, England and safety from 
pursuit lay before her eyes : far away over the waste 
of sea was the land of her youth that she had loved 
so well. 

To which country should she appeal for pitiful 
shelter in her trouble ; since to stay in the realm 
that once was hers meant certain death now? The 
vengeful Medici, she knew, hated her, but would 
hardly dare to harm her, though the French diplo- 
matic efforts during her imprisonment had been 
directed more to the conciliation of the rebels than 
to her release. On the other hand, Elizabeth's regard 
for the sacredness of royalty had made her active and 
sympathetic personally whilst Mary lay a captive in 
the hands of subjects. She would, surely, for once 
allow pity to conquer policy, and treat her cousin 
courteously 1 Herries was a cunning knave, and a 
good Catholic, and besought his mistress to beware 
of trusting heretics. Let her, he urged, stay yet on 
Scottish soil for a space — he would answer for her life 
with his own — and a fitting ship could be obtained to 
carry her to France or Spain if needful. 

But Mary was half crazy with long travel, poignant 
emotion, and continual danger. Repose and safety 
were for the moment all to her, and these seemed to 
beckon her so near and temptingly — beckoned her, as 
it proved, to her destruction ; and she, with eyes 
blind to the future, chose the fatal easier alternative. 
On the 1 6th May 1568 Mary stepped from her own 


land, which she was to tread no more, into a humble 
fishing-boat that was to ferry her across ; and as it left 
the shore, and the Queen with streaming eyes bade 
farewell to her country — full for her of memories of 
crime and horror — the first volume of her life-story 
was closed. It had been a history whose bright and 
splendid earlier pages had been succeeded by others 
sullied with passion, tears, and blood ; and the lesson it 
taught to all the ages to come was, that a woman, be 
she queen or peasant, who allows her passion to over- 
ride her duty, hands herself over defenceless to her 
enemies, to deal with as they will. For the next six- 
teen years the lesson was to be seared deep by fire upon 
the heart of Mary Stuart. 



Mary's unwise attitude on her arrival — Elizabeth's suspicion of her — 
Herries's mission to London — The conference at York — Lethington 
and Norfolk — Suggestions for Mary's marriage with the Duke — 
Norfolk and the Casket Papers — Murray dissembles — The match 
promoted by the English conservative nobles — Co-operation of Spain 
and real objects of the conspiracy — Mary's complicity in the rising of 
the North — Her love-letters to Norfolk — Norfolk's protestations — 
Norfolk's collapse— The rising of the North— The nobles misled by 
de Spes — Defeat of the rising — Mary's persistence in the Norfolk 
match — Revival of the plot — The Ridolfi mission — Spain's support to 
be given after Elizabeth's murder — The unmasking of the plot — 
Execution of Norfolk — The ambitions of Don John — His plan to 
marry the Queen of Scots — His disappointment and death — The end. 

Mary had learned by experience the power she 
exercised by her personal fascination, especially in 
pathetic appeal ; but she probably did not fully realise 
how infinitely stronger it was over men than over 
women. The first letter she wrote to Elizabeth on 
touching English soil contained a prayer for aid 
against her rebel subjects, and an apparently confident 
request that the English queen would grant her an 
immediate personal interview. c I pray you send for 
me as soon as you can : for I am in piteous case, not 
only for a queen but for a gentlewoman. I have 
nothing in the world but what I stand upright in, 
having escaped by riding sixty miles the first day 


across country, and having dared only to travel at 
night since then ; as I hope to explain to you if you 
will have pity, as I hope you will, upon my extreme 
misfortune.' 1 

There was little room for personal sentiment in 
Elizabeth's political methods. She was perfectly well 
aware, of course, that Mary had been intriguing for 
the possession or succession of the crown of England 
ever since she was capable of intriguing at all ; and 
Elizabeth could not afford to lose a point in the game 
of which her throne, her life, and the Reformation 
were the stakes. High as was her reverence for 
royalty in the abstract, she did not allow it to hurry 
her into consenting to a compromising meeting with 
Mary Stuart. Her first impulse was to treat her 
with full royal honours, and if possible to make 
some arrangement that should leave her the nominal 
sovereignty of Scotland, whilst securing to Murray 
and his Protestant friends unchecked power. But 
the majority of the English council viewed the matter 
in a different light from the Queen. It was almost 
as important for the paramount Protestant party in 
Elizabeth's counsels as it was to Murray and Morton 
that Mary should be so dealt with as for ever to be 
excluded from the English succession, and Elizabeth's 
ministers had to bear in mind what would happen 
to them in the case of the Queen's death. Even 
whilst Mary and Murray were in arms in Scotland, 
and Elizabeth was sending sympathetic messages to 
the former, confidential communications to the detri- 
ment of the Queen's party were passing from Cecil 
to the Protestant lords ; 2 and when the news came 

1 LabanofF, vol. ii. p. 76. 2 Spanish Calendar, vol. ii. 


to London of Mary's arrival in England, Bedford, 
Cecil, and the other strong Protestant partisans in 
Elizabeth's council continued to press upon her the 
urgent necessity of preventing the Queen of Scots 
from leaving England, for the purpose of appealing for 
the introduction of armed foreign aid into Scotland. 

By great misfortune, Mary when she crossed the 
Sol way just missed Elizabeth's envoy, Leighton, who 
had been sent to promise English aid to the Scottish 
queen, on condition that the latter would pledge 
herself not to appeal to the French j 1 and if Mary 
had remained long enough in Scotland to receive 
Leighton, she might have made a fair bargain with 
Elizabeth. On English soil, however, she had nothing 
in hand to bargain with, so long as she could be 
prevented from escaping ; and this fact, which was 
promptly made patent to Elizabeth by her Puritan 
advisers, did not come home fully to Mary in time 
to prevent her from falling into the fatal mistake of 
arousing Elizabeth's distrust, and threatening to adopt 
an inimical course, which the English queen could 
prevent by retaining her in England. Mary first 
struck this unfortunate note in the second letter she 
sent to Elizabeth on the 28th May by Lord Herries, 
a strong Catholic. Elizabeth's cousin and vice- 
chamberlain, Knollys, had personally carried to Mary 
the day previously his mistress's answer to her 
first pathetic appeal. Knollys was a strong Puritan 
and did not soften his message. Apparently Mary 
was surprised, and not a little indignant, at its tone. 
* After delivering your Highness's letters, she fell 
into some passion, with the water in her eyes; and, 

1 Scottish Calendar % Bain, vol. ii. p. 409. 


taking us into her bedroom, complained that you 
(i.e. Elizabeth) did not answer her expectation to 
admit her at once to your presence, where, on de- 
claring her innocence, you would either without delay 
aid her to subdue her enemies, or else, she being now 
come of her goodwill, and not of necessity, into your 
Highness' hands, . . . you would at least give her 
passage through your country to France, not doubting 
that both the kings of France and Spain would 
help her.' 1 Knollys credited Mary with having *an 
eloquent tongue and a discreet head ; and it seemeth 
by her doings that she hath a stout courage and a 
liberal heart.' But in his interview with her the latter 
qualities are certainly the more conspicuous. He told 
her that Elizabeth was sorry that she could not do her 
the honour of receiving her c by reason of this great 
slander of murder, whereof she was not yet purged 
. . . but he was sure that, whether she purged herself 
or not in that behalf, yet if she would depend upon 
your Highness' favour, without seeking to bring 
strangers into Scotland, the imminent danger whereof 
your Highness could not suffer, your Highness would 
use all convenient means you could for her comfort 
and relief.' 

Mary's hopeless position would seem to dictate the 
need for a conciliatory reply to Elizabeth's condition ; 
but the Scottish queen, instead of lulling suspicion, 
complained bitterly to Knollys of the delay in answer- 
ing her, which she said was only to serve her enemies ; 
and the Englishman at once wrote off to his Queen 
warning her of the danger of Mary's longer stay in 
the Catholic north of England, where the gentry were 

1 Knollys and Scrope to the Queen (Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 41 6). 


flocking to salute her, and eagerly listening to her 
pathetic account of the sad events that had befallen 
her. Knollys's remedy was a cruel one ; namely, to 
give Mary the choice of going back to Scotland at 
once, or of remaining in England entirely at Eliza- 
beth's devotion. But, he adds, if Murray were given 
a private hint when his sister was to go back to 
Scotland, she would not trouble any one again. 

Mary's choice of an envoy to express her indigna- 
tion to Elizabeth was unwise. Herries was an out- 
spoken Catholic, subtle and false enough naturally, 
but given to outbursts of temper, which made him 
a bad negotiator. He carried south an imprudent, 
threatening letter from Mary, saying that if the Queen 
of England would not receive and aid her, she would 
seek other allies who would do so : * Car, Dieu merci, 
je ne suis denuee de bons amis ni voisins en ma juste 
querelle.' When Herries arrived t in London and 
learned that the Queen refused to receive him, he was 
more imprudent and haughty than even his mistress 
had been. He protested angrily that he was watched 
and guarded like a prisoner, whilst Murray's envoy 
was free; and he violently demanded a prompt answer, 
' as he could not suffer the long delay usual here, nor 
would the nature of his business permit it. He wished 
to learn whether the Queen (Elizabeth), as she always 
had promised, would help his Queen. ... If she 
did not, he would go and beg the aid of the King of 
France, the Emperor, your Majesty (i.e. Philip), and 
even the Pope.' 1 This was said to the Earl of Bed- 
ford, one of the most pronounced Puritans in Eliza- 
beth's council ; and when, in shocked remonstrance, 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. p. 42. 


the earl held up his hands and exclaimed, * The 
Pope ! ' Hemes burst out, l Yes ! and even the 
Grand Turk, or the Sophi himself, seeing the need 
my Queen is in.* 

In view of such talk as this, Elizabeth, quite natur- 
ally, refused to allow Fleming, who had accompanied 
Herries, to proceed to France; and sent them both 
back to Mary with a cold intimation that she must 
clear herself of the slur of murder before she could 
be received as a sister queen. The position was an 
extremely difficult one for Elizabeth, and her per- 
plexity is admirably indicated in her many conver- 
sations with Guzman on the subject at the time. She 
was anxious to treat Mary as a queen, but the threats 
to appeal to the Catholic powers for the introduction 
of armed forces in Britain must be prevented from 
realisation at any cost, since the whole tendency of 
English policy had been for many years to prevent 
such an eventuality ; and Elizabeth's throne, Eng- 
land's independence, and the Protestant Reformation 
depended upon it. The Spaniard for whom, and for 
the Duke of Alba, Fleming had brought letters from 
Mary, did his best to soften matters for her ; but even 
he was obliged to confess that, having regard to her 
own safety, Elizabeth could hardly act otherwise than 
she had determined to do, namely, to bring Mary 
away from the Catholic north and from near proxi- 
mity to the Border, and endeavour, by conference and 
negotiation, to bring about a settlement that should 
restore the Queen of Scots to her own country, whilst 
disabling her for ever from acting against English 
interests. Mainly, therefore, owing to Mary's slow- 
ness in realising the sudden change wrought in her 


negotiating power from the moment she stood on 
English soil, the evil seed was thus early sown; 
and Elizabeth's heart hardened as Mary's unwise 
threats of foreign armed intervention convinced the 
English queen that the woman, who in her hour of 
agonising distress had sought her pity, had never for 
a moment abandoned the ambition to seize her crown. 

For the rest of Mary Stuart's unhappy life she was 
plotting ceaselessly with this end. The invasion of 
England, the murder of Elizabeth, revenge, dire and 
bloody, upon her enemies were ever before her eyes 
as the great goal of her existence. With the dis- 
contented English nobles, with Scottish Catholics, with 
her son James, with her cousin Guise, with the Jesuits, 
with Alba, with Don John, with Spanish agents in- 
numerable, with the Pope, with traitors and spies, with 
wretched hired assassins, with anybody, Mary Stuart 
was thenceforward ready to plot and plan for carrying 
out, at any cost of life and suffering, the dream that 
animated her from her girlhood to her death. Finally, 
ready to disinherit her own son, and become herself 
a mere puppet of Spain ; determined to hand over 
England and Scotland to the foreigner, and to make 
gloomy Philip and his Inquisitors masters of Europe, 
because masters of England, Mary lost all title to 
consideration from Elizabeth long before her tragic 

The story of these long years of sombre intrigue 
must be left mainly to be told in a future volume, but 
on two occasions the plots to overthrow Elizabeth and 
the Protestant regime in England were interwoven 
with marriage projects that properly bring them within 
the scope of this book. Regarded as love affairs they 


were cold, calculating courtships, involving murder in 
one case at least ; but even in this case a semblance of 
sentiment was imported into it by Mary, probably in 
order to inflame her suitor with spirit and determina- 
tion to go through with the dangerous business for the 
sake of her love, if for no other reason. 

For months Mary stood out against the suggestion 
that she should prove herself innocent before an Eng- 
lish tribunal of the accusations informally made against 
her by Murray and the Protestants. She, an anointed 
sovereign, would, she said, acknowledge no judge of 
her actions but the Almighty. At length she and 
her advisers were gradually won over by the specious 
pretext that the inquiry would be no trial, but a 
conference in which Murray would be called upon to 
justify his rebellion, and that reconciliation, not con- 
demnation, was the object. This Conference at York 
in the autumn of 1568 was a scene of more subtle, 
self-seeking intrigue than perhaps was ever centred 
at one time and place in England. All the actors but 
the principal one, Mary, were there : Murray and 
Lethington, accompanied by Morton, Lindsay, Buch- 
anan, and others ; old Lennox, clamouring only, but in 
vain, to secure the punishment of Mary for the murder 
of his son ; Herries, the Bishop of Ross, Boyd, and 
Fleming representing Mary, each with his own interest 
to serve, as well as those of his Church and his Queen ; 
and the Queen of England's commissioners, headed by 
the first noble of the realm, Thomas Howard, Duke 
of Norfolk. Robert Melville was secretly running 
backwards and forwards from Murray in York to 
Mary at Bolton, trying to frighten her into silence 
and an acceptance of the regency by threats of dis- 

2 s 


closing the incriminating Casket Papers. Lethington, 
pretending to her to be desirous of softening the case 
against her — he is even said to have sent her sur- 
reptitiously a copy of the Casket Papers — was in 
private at York condemning her with the bitterest 
venom ; desirous of making himself secure, whichever 
side came uppermost, and of preventing Mary in her 
desperation from making disclosures about him. In- 
finite chicane and falsity were on all sides, each party 
endeavouring to force the hands of the others, and to 
gain thieir ends without involving themselves ; and for 
a time nothing was done but fencing. 

The Duke of Norfolk, though a professed Protes- 
tant, had for some time been drifting towards the 
party of discontented Catholic nobles, of which his 
father-in-law, the Earl of Arundel, was the chief: 1 
enemies, all of them, of Leicester and the new men 
who surrounded Elizabeth. His sister, Lady Scrope, 
was the wife of the nobleman who, jointly with Knollys, 
now guarded Mary, and the latter had been assured 
by her that the duke was favourable to her cause. 
In effect, it was evident from his letters when he first 
arrived in York that he hoped that a compromise, 
rather than a condemnation, would be the result of 
the meeting. Murray and Lethington were probably, 
for their own ends, animated by a similar desire, and 
delayed the production of the murder portion of their 
charges against Mary. But, finding that she was less 
amenable to threats than they had expected, 2 Lething- 

1 He had been dealt with by the Spanish ambassador in Mary's favour 
at the time of the Darn ley marriage {Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. i.)> and 
even before the Conference commenced there had been some talk of his 
possible marriage with Mary. 

3 She doubtless thought that any evidence they produced against her 


ton appears most unfairly to have shown the incrimi- 
nating letters and the Ainslie bond, privately, to the 
English commissioners on the nth October, with an 
alleged warrant from Mary directing the nobles to 
sign such bond. 

To judge from Norfolk's letter, written the same 
day to Elizabeth, 1 he was shocked at the letters, the 
worst of which he calls * horrible,* containing *foul 
matter, and abominable ' ; discovering c such inordinate 
love between her and Bothwell, her loathsomeness and 
abhorring of her husband that was murdered, in such 
sort as every godly man cannot but detest the same.' 
The duke seems to have raised at the time no question 
as to the genuineness of the papers shown to him. 
He was told they were in the Queen's own hand- 
writing ; and if that were the case there could be no 
doubt that Mary was an active accomplice with Both- 
well in the murder of her husband, and that she had 
lived in adultery with the murderer before the com- 
mission of the crime. Norfolk was an amiable and 
popular nobleman, a widower of thirty three, of the 
highest rank and great possessions, and a kinsman of 
Elizabeth. Whatever may have been hinted previ- 
ously by intriguing friends or accepted hy him, as to 
the possibility of his marrying Mary, and rallying to 
her cause the discontented conservative English nobles, 
it may be concluded that the sight of the asket Papers 
on the nth October, and the assurance that they were 
genuine, would drive out of his mind any floating idea 

would be exhibited to her, and if this had been done, she had a good 
retort, at least as against Lethington and Morton, by proving their com- 
plicity, as she repeatedly said she could do. This was doubtless the reason 
why letters were never officially shown to her. 
1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 526. 


he may have had of marrying the woman whose * un- 
godly marriage ' with Bothwell he was convinced had 
been settled a week before the bridegroom's mock- 
trial and acquittal for Darnley's murder, and before 
Bothwell's divorce. 1 

That on the nth October, after he had seen the 
compromising papers, he had no fixed thought of his 
own marriage with Mary seems probable from his 
remark as to the need for including the Hamiltons in 
any reconciliation between Mary and her nobles that 
might be effected, but saying that this was only pos- 
sible if Chatelherault, who was then in London, was 
willing to abandon his plan for marrying his second 
son, Lord Abroath, to the Queen of Scots. But, 
withal, it is evident that Norfolk, even when he 
believed Mary to be guilty, was anxious to save 
her from condemnation, and to patch up a recon- 
ciliation which should enable the conservative English 
nobles still to regard her as their candidate for the 
English succession. This result would have suited 
Lethington also if he were to be allowed to join in the 
negotiation ; but it would have been ominous of ruin 
for Murray, because the accession of his sister to the 
throne of England, by the death of Elizabeth or other- 
wise, would have meant his own immediate overthrow 
in Scotland. 

Norfolk took Lethington aside one day in York, 
and said he wondered how he and his friends could be 
so unwise as to raise the horrible scandal about the 
mother of their child-king, and suggested that the 
murder charges, at least, should be hushed up* 

1 Scottish CaUndar, vol. ii. Norfolk to Elizabeth, nth October 1568, 
and the same to Pembroke, Leicester, and Cecil, ibid. 


Lethington, as usual — and this time, no doubt, truly 
— disclaimed any intention of proceeding to extremi- 
ties against Mary, and asked Norfolk's permission to 
consult Murray on the subject. The next day Murray 
had a long private conference with the duke in the 
gallery of the house where the latter was staying. 
We nobles of England, said Norfolk, are anxious 
as to what is to happen when our Queen dies. She 
cares nothing about it, and has always been angry 
when we have endeavoured to settle the succession. 
But we must look ahead, whether she likes it or not. 
What, asked Norfolk, could be Murray's motive in 
coming there and blackening Queen Mary's character, 
injuring not only her own great hopes of the English 
succession, but those of her son after her ? And then 
he proposed a subterfuge by which the accusations 
against Mary might remain in abeyance; and after 
some other interviews, 1 in which only Lethington and 
James Melville accompanied Murray, an agreement 
was effected between them to render the conference at 
York abortive as against Mary, Norfolk pledging 
himself to obtain from the latter a confirmation of 
Murray's regency. However sincere Norfolk and 
Lethington may have been in the matter, Murray 
probably was not so. Mary unguardedly showed to 
one of her friends Norfolk's letter to her informing 
her of the arrangement, and the friend conveyed 
the intelligence to Morton, who at once reproached 
Murray for his betrayal. It was no betrayal of 
Morton, however, for Murray, through his precious 


1 This is James Melville's account. Norfolk on his trial said that it was 
Lethington who had first made the suggestion to him. The balance of 
probability is in favour of Melville. 


secretary Wood, divulged the plan, to Cecil, for the 
purpose of having it frustrated. 

Before this happened the two sincere conspirators, 
Norfolk and Lethington, carried the negotiation into 
a still more dangerous stage. We have seen that the 
subject of a possible marriage between Mary and Nor- 
folk had already been mooted by the English conser- 
vative nobles, with the object of forcing Elizabeth's 
hands in regard to the succession, and of eclipsing the 
Cecil influence at court. After Norfolk's approaches 
to Lethington about hushing up the murder charges, 
Lethington, Melville, and the Bishop of Ross sat up 
nearly all night on Saturday trying to devise some 
safe scheme of reconciliation. In the course of the 
discussion Lethington remarked that Norfolk seemed 
to bear great goodwill to Mary, and ' that it appeared 
to him that the duke had some intention of marrying 
the Queen, as the bruit was.' 1 It will be recollected 
that, only a few days before, Norfolk had been shown 
the Casket Papers, and if he believed them genuine, it 
is incredible that he then should have desired to marry 
a woman who was capable of writing them. Norfolk 
himself asserts, indeed, that on Saturday, after dinner, 
Lethington took him aside, and earnestly proposed 
that he should marry the Queen, c which I utterly 
refused.' 2 During the long ride to Cawood next day 
(Sunday, 16th October), Lethington's efforts appear, 
therefore, to have been mainly directed to casting 
doubts upon the genuineness of the papers that formed 
the damning evidence against Mary ; the very papers 
that only a week before he had privately shown to 

1 The deposition of the Bishop of Ross {State Trials). 
* Norfolk^ speech (Staff Trials). 


Norfolk for the purpose of incriminating her. What 
arguments Lethington may have used during the ride 
we know not ; but somehow he managed to persuade 
the duke that, after all, Mary was not so black as she 
was painted, and that the marriage suggested might 
provide a solution of all the difficulties both in Eng- 
land and Scotland, whilst ensuring to Norfolk a regal 
future. At once the whole Catholic intrigue was 
actively revived. 1 Lady Scrope broke the matter to 
the Scottish queen at Bolton, who approved of the 
plan. The Bishop of Ross and Liggons, a Catholic 
agent of Norfolk's, carried messages backwards and 
forwards to Mary ; the Spanish ambassador was drawn 
into the secret, and the English conservative nobles, 
Arundel, Lumley, Northumberland, and the rest of 
them, were all agog with new hopes for the future ; 
for, with the highest and most popular of them as 
consort of the future or present Queen of England, 
the old nobility and the old faith might come to their 
own again, and the new men, the Cecils, the Bacons, 
the Bedfords, the Hunsdons, and their like would be 
ousted from the place they occupied. 

The new danger, suspected if not known precisely, 

1 To prove how unwavering in this hour of distress was Mary's purpose 
to this end, a few lines of her letter of 24th September 1568 to her school- 
fellow Elizabeth, Queen of Spain, may be quoted, in which it will be seen 
that she is almost willing to rejoice in her exile from Scotland as offering 
facilities for her projects against the Protestant regime in England: — 'Si 
les roys votre seigneur et frere (i.e. Philip and Charles ix.) estoyent en 
repos mon desastre servirait a la Chrestiantay, car ma venue en ce pays 
nVa fait faire aqueintance ici par la quelle j'ay tant apris de l'etat ici que si 
j'avais tant soit peu d'esperance de secours d'ailleurs je mettrais la religion 
en su ou je mourais. Tout ce quartier (i.e. the north of England) ici est 
entierement dedie a la foi Catholique, et pour ce respect et du droit que j'ai 
ici, peu de chose- apprendrait cette reine a s'entremettre d'ayder aux subjects 
contre les princes. . . . Dieu merci je pense que j'ay gaigne* une bonne 
parti de cceurs de gens de bien de ce pays depuis ma venue jusqu'a hasadex 
ce qu'ils ont avec moi et pour ma querelle ' (LabanofF, vol. ii. p. 186). 


was parried by Elizabeth and Cecil in characteristic 
fashion. The Conference was removed from York to 
Hampton Court without Norfolk, in order that the 
Queen herself might conduct it ; and simultaneously 
Knollys was instructed to sound Mary at Bolton as to 
her willingness to marry one of Elizabeth's English 
kinsmen. He seems on his own account to have 
specially mentioned his cousin, George Carey, son of 
the Puritan Lord Hunsdon, and Mary, without com- 
mitting herself, conveyed the idea that in order to gain 
Elizabeth's favour she would not reject such a match. 
Considering that the plot to marry Norfolk was at the 
time in full negotiation, it is certain that Mary never 
intended to mate with one of the newest of the new 
men, an enemy of her cause, without a single recom- 
mendation except the very doubtful one of his kinship 
with the Queen of England. 1 Murray himself affected 
to fall in with the plan for the marriage of Norfolk, 
and later, when he was taxed angrily therewith by 
Elizabeth, he excused himself by saying that, though 
Norfolk had pledged him to secrecy, he had divulged 
the proposal to Leicester at Hampton Court, who was 
also privy to Norfolk's plans, and, understanding them 
to be directed only against Cecil and his party, at first 
approved of them. 2 Murray, probably with truth, 
declared that his own consent was only feigned, because 
he had learned that if he had not given it Norfolk had 
arranged to have him murdered on his way back to 

1 Scottish Calendar, Bain, vol. ii. p. 535. 

9 When Leicester understood the real drift of the plan he took fright 
and told Elizabeth all about it, though she probably knew it already from 
Cecil's spies. Murray's Apologia for his feigned acceptance of the idea is 
printed as an Appendix to Robertson, and elsewhere. 


Whilst the adjourned Conference was slowly lingering 
onward to inevitable abortiveness at Hampton Court, 
for it would have embarrassed all parties to condemn 
Mary for conspiracy to murder without confronting 
her with her accusers, which was undesirable for them, 
the new political matrimonial conspiracy was maturing. 
The letters which crossed between the political lovers, 
Mary and Norfolk, were mutually returned to the 
writers, but a few of them remain, and demonstrate 
the nature of the courtship. On one occasion, early in 
May, Mary forgot to return one of her suitor's letters 
to him, and [in reply to his reproaches she wrote from 
Wingfield (nth May) : l I would have been gladder 
than I am, if the assurance of my carelessness in any- 
thing touching you might have prevailed against sus- 
picion in the contrary. Always I am glad that ere 
now ye may know that my great haste to answer to 
your satisfaction might cause a fault to be done without 
danger, for the letters remained, but my keys are not 
in that peril you take them to be in. I pray you be 
sure I have none I trust in shall oversee them, nor do 
I trust in none more than I am able to do. ... I 
write as much as I may do, and spare not my travail ; 
for I have none other matters in head than those that 
you have in hand to be occupied with : and I fear that 
it is too busy upon me presently, that I have not taken 
much ease this last night, so that I am not able to 
write further ; and this in pain, being in a fever. I 
pray you not to take it in evil part, for I mind it not. 
I thought yesterday to have sent you the token you 
sent, to pray you not to leave your care of me for any 
extremity. I may write no more. As soon as I be 
anything amended I shall write more plainly. I pray 


God preserve you, and if you send me any news I pray 
God it be more comfortable. From my bed, nth 
May. My trembling hand will write no more.' 1 

Mary entered with zest into the conspiracy. In 
January 1569 de Spes, enraged at the capture of the 
Spanish treasure, wrote to his king, as usual, urging 
him to help the English Catholics to rise. ( In the 
meanwhile many means will be found to bring this 
country to its senses, and convert it to the Catholic 
faith. Those who have spoken to me about a rising 
for the Queen of Scots will be sure to return to the 
subject, and I will inform the Duke of Alba. . . . 
The day before yesterday the servant I sent to the 
Queen of Scots returned. . . . She certainly seems a 
lady of great spirit, and gains so many friends where 
she is that, with a little help, she would be able to get 
the kingdom into her hands. . . . Last night, at mid- 
night, the Bishop of Ross came to offer the goodwill 
of his mistress, and of many gentlemen of this country, 
and I have reported this to the Duke of Alba. . . . 
The Queen of Scots herself gave my servant the 
following message for me : €< Tell the Ambassador that, 
if his master will help me, I shall be Queen of England 
in three months, and Mass shall be said all over the 
country" ' 2 * The Earl of Northumberland came to 
see me disguised at four o'clock in the morning, and is 
ready to serve your Majesty.' * By April the plot had 
so far progressed that all was ready to capture Cecil 
and his friends, and change the government by a coup 
de main. Leicester, however, grew alarmed when he 

1 Labanoff, Recueil, vol. ii. p. 344. 

* Dc Spes to Philip 11., 8th January 1569 {Spanish Calendar, vol. ii.). 

8 Ibid. 


gained an inkling of the ulterior objects in view, and 
threatened to warn the Queen. Cecil had also learned 
of the plan, and cleverly persuaded Norfolk and 
Arundel that he also desired a reconciliation with 
Spain ; and so the conspirators for a time were thrown 
into confusion. In June, however, they informed the 
hot-headed Spanish ambassador, through the Bishop of 
Ross, that they now understood how they had been 
hoodwinked by Cecil, and would proceed more cau- 
tiously in future. Leonard, Lord Dacre of the 
North, promised de Spes at the same time that when- 
ever the King of Spain would send a sufficient force to 
England, the north-country nobles would undertake to 
raise a body of fifteen thousand selected troops for his 
service in England, in order that the Catholic Church 
might be restored under Mary and her consort 
Norfolk. 1 On the following day Ridolfi, the Floren- 
tine banker and papal agent, came to de Spes from 
Norfolk's brother-in-law, Lord Lumley, with fresh 
pledges of what the nobles would do for Spain and 
Catholicism if they succeeded in their plot. 2 

That Mary was the head and front of this con- 
spiracy, the most dangerous that ever threatened 
Elizabeth, is seen also in her interesting letter from 
Wingfield to Norfolk of 24th June 1569, a letter 
much warmer in tone than the one just quoted. 
'Considering how much I am beholden to you in 
many ways, I am glad the grant of my goodwill is so 
agreeable to you. Albeit I know myself to be so 
unworthy to be so well liked of one of such wisdom 
and good qualities : yet do I think my hap great in 

1 De Spet to Philip, 14th June 1569 (Spanish Calendar, voL ii.). 
* Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. 


that ; yea much greater than my desert. Therefore, I 
will use myself so that, so far as God shall give me 
grace, you shall never have cause to diminish your 
good conceit and favour of me, whilst I shall esteem 
and respect you in all my doings as long as I live, as 
you would wish your own to do. Now, my good 
Lord, more words to this purpose would be unseemly 
in my present condition, and importunable to you in 
your many businesses. 9 After speaking of her ill- 
health from her old malady in the side, Mary con- 
tinues : ( I write to the Bishop of Ross what I hear 
from the Duke of Alba, governor of the Netherlands. 
Let me know your pleasure at length in writing what 
I shall answer. Now, my good Norfolk, you bid 
me command you : that would be beside my duty 
in many ways. But to pray you I will, that you 
counsel me not to take patiently my great griefs, 
except you promise me to trouble you no more for the 
death of your ward. I wish you had another in his 
room to make you merry, or else I would we were 
out of both England and Scotland.' 1 And so with 
many kind, almost affectionate, words Mary takes 
leave of her new lover. 

The aristocratic conspiracy, of the success of which 
the only final result could have been the death or 
deposition of Elizabeth in favour of Mary, as its 
contrivers well knew, could only succeed with the aid 

1 This passage refers to the recent death of the child Lord Dacre, whose 
great revenues Norfolk enjoyed during his minority. Mary wishes that 
her own son were in Norfolk's keeping, or else that he were abroad. There 
is a purposely obscure passage in this letter, which Mary says will be ex- 

Irfained verbally by her messenger. She says that the ' physicians write at 
ength. They seem to lore you marvellously, and not to mislike me.* I 
take ' physicians * to mean Alba and the Catholic party in Europe, and that 
they approved of the proposed marriage. 


of great armed forces provided by Philip and the 
Pope. The incredibly rash and imprudent de Spes 
violated his precise instructions, which were of a tem- 
porising character, and unquestionably encouraged the 
English conservative nobles to believe that if they rose 
Spanish aid would be sent to them.* From the first 
day of his arrival in England he had tried to force his 
master's hand and to precipitate the war which Philip 
had always striven to avoid. At the present juncture 
the resources of Spain were absolutely exhausted. 
Elizabeth had seized the treasure that was being sent 
to Flanders to pay Alba's troops, and it was more 
impracticable than ever it had been for a Spanish army 
to be sent to help the English Catholics to substi- 
tute Mary for Elizabeth on the English throne. In 
February 1569 Philip wrote to Alba in reference to 
the appeals which, as we have seen, for months pre- 
viously de Spes had been sending to Spain for aid to 
Mary and the English nobles. The King says that 
de Spes assures him that the opportunity is now ripe 
for deposing Elizabeth and placing Mary upon the 
throne, and he leaves to Alba's discretion whether or 
not to undertake the business. But Alba had a very 
poor opinion of de Spes's judgment, and could only 
assure his master that he had neither men nor money 
to conquer England, and could only pursue a mild, 
conciliatory course with the heretic Queen and her 

On the urgent prayer of Arundel, Lumley, and the 
other conspirators Alba managed to scrape together 
and send them six thousand crowns during the summer, 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii., where the ambassador's instructions 
and his violent letters will be found in full. 


but it was accompanied by a stern order to the ambas- 
sador to the effect, ' that though he might at unsus- 
picious hours listen to the servants of the Queen of 
Scots,* he must, on no account, take any part in 
conspiracies directed against Elizabeth or her govern- 
ment. But de Spes never ceased to do as he was 
forbidden to do. The Italian agents of the English 
nobles came to him almost nightly ; and on the 25th 
July 1569 he reported that the Bishop of Ross had 
gone to see him at Winchester House at three o'clock 
in the morning, c to assure me of the wish of the Duke 
of Norfolk to serve your Majesty. He said he was a 
Catholic, and has the support, even in London, of 
many aldermen and rich merchants.' 

A week later the ambassador wrote that * Norfolk 
and the other adherents of the Queen of Scots are busy 
trying to get her declared the Queen's successor, and 
this Queen (Elizabeth) has already grown suspicious 
of the duke. There certainly will be some turmoil 
about it. They all assert that if they succeed religion 
shall be restored.' * Whilst Norfolk was thus humbling 
himself to foreigners and Catholics, he vainly imagined 
that he was winning Murray and the Protestants as 
well. Writing to Murray on the 1st July, 2 he 
promised him all sorts of favour and reward, ( as a 
natural brother,' and sought to reassure him as to the 
results of the marriage with Mary. c To come to that 
which you desire to be satisfied of, my marriage with 
the Queen, your sister, I must deal plainly with you 
as my only friend. I have proceeded so far 
therein, as I can with conscience neither revoke that 
which I have done, nor never mean to go back from 

1 SpanijA Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. * Hatfield Papers, vol. i. 


it : nor with honour proceed further, till such time as 
you shall there remove all stumbling-blocks to our 
more apparent proceedings. 1 Which, when by you it 
shall be finished, upon my honour the rest shall follow 
to your comfort and contentment. . . . My very 
earnest request is that you proceed with such expedi- 
tion as the enemies (which shall be no small number) 
to this good purpose of uniting this land into one 
kingdom, in time coming, and the maintenance of 
God's true religion, may not have opportunity ... to 
hinder our determination ; against which there will be 
no practice by foreign princes omitted. . . . You 
shall not want the furtherance in this enterprise of 
the most part of the noblemen of this kingdom, whose 
faithful friendship in this cause, and all my other 
actions, I have . . \ proved.' Thus Norfolk was 
both Catholic and Protestant ; a humble servant of 
the kings of Spain and France, 2 and an opponent of 
4 foreign princes ' ; a friend of Murray and a lover of 

Elizabeth and Cecil were well aware of the danger ; 
which, in effect, was very great. A caucus majority of 
the council had met privately and decided in favour of 
Norfolk's marriage. c The signatures of the principal 
people in the country have been obtained to this 
effect.' 8 Mary was to be released ; the French 

1 Namely, to procure a divorce in Scotland between Mary and Bothwell. 

3 In a private letter from La Mothe to Catharine, ist September, he says 
that both Mary and Norfolk will be entirely governed bv her j and that the 
duke had solemnly promised this on the honour of his hand; 'et que de sa 
part, apres la Reine sa maitresse, il demeurera, bien assure serviteur du Roy 
et Vostre, tout le temps de sa vie.' La Mothe calls Norfolk ' ung fort 
homme de bien, veritable et secret, 1 and begs in his name for six hundred 
French arquebusier* to occupy Dumbarton. It will be seen by this that 
Norfolk was indeed all things to all men. 

3 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. 


ambassador had been reconciled to the plan, 1 and 
de Spes expected from day to day a formal visit 
from Norfolk, to request the King of Spain's approval 
of the match. Mary herself had already informally 
asked for it, and the ambassador opined that 'the 
business is so far forward that it will be difficult now 
to prevent it, but I think it will be better that it 
should be done with your Majesty's consent ... as 
it will bind them more closely than ever to your 
Majesty's service. The Queen of Scotland says that, 
if she were at liberty, or could get such help as would 
enable her to bring her country into submission, she 
would deliver herself and her son entirely into your 
Majesty's hands ; but that now she is obliged to sail 
with the wind, although she will never depart from 
your Majesty's wishes in religion or other things.' * 

1 La Mothe Fenelon was, indeed, the depositary of the marriage con- 
tract, and wrote strongly in favour of it to Catharine and her son. His 
having done so is a tribute to the clever diplomacy of Mary's English 
friends, who had convinced him that the Spanish ambassador had not been 
taken fully into their confidence, but was anxious to interfere in it and gain 
his King's approval. La Mothe says that the advocates of the marriage 
were in favour of an immediate consummation of it, in order to place before 
foreign princes a fait accompli. He says that Mary herself not only consented 
to the match, ' mais bien fort le desirer, comme entrant la en possession de la 
couronne d'Angleterre, apres sa cousine, vu la bonne part que le dit due a 
avec toute la noblesse ' {Correspondance de La Mothe Fetulon). Catharine de 
Medici instructed La Mothe to forward the match in every possible way 
to prevent Mary from looking solely to Spain. 

> Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. it. p. 189. When Philip's answer came 
to the request for his approval of Norfolk's marriage— of course, too late, 
for the duke was under arrest when it arrived — the tone was very doubtful. 
' If the marriage of the Duke of Norfolk with the Queen of Scots is effected 
in the way and with the objects of which you are informed, there is no 
doubt that it would be of great importance for the restoration of our true 
and ancient religion in England, and would console the good Catholics 
who are now so much oppressed. I desire these objects very warmly, as you 
know $ but they must be very careful how they undertake the business, for 
if they make a mistake they will all be ruined. You did well in referring 
them to the Duke of Alba, who will advise them for the best. You will 
confine yourself to this in accordance with your orders, which you will not 
exceed.' Philip also expressed doubts of Norfolk's Catholicism. 


The only person whose approval of the match was 
apparently not desired was Elizabeth herself ; and she 
generally had to be reckoned with in matters concern- 
ing her own interests. So, when Leicester in a fright 
went and made a clean breast of the whole affair to 
her, 1 the heavy hand of the angry Queen fell upon 
Mary and her faint-hearted suitor. Suddenly in 
September Mary's confinement was made much closer 
under the Puritan Huntingdon, Norfolk and the 
conservative lords being peremptorily summoned to 
court. Norfolk was a weak reed. He came as far as 
London, the Queen being at Windsor, but what he 
heard at Howard House frightened him. Feigning 
illness for the first two days, he fled on the third 
(24th September), bewailing in his letter to Elizabeth 
that she was so angry with him. He never meant any 
harm. c On his honour he never dealt with the Queen 
of Scots further than he declared to the Queen and 
some of her council.' 2 And so the poor creature, lying 
and prevaricating, sought safety in his own county at 
his castle of Kenninghall — the third unworthy man 
who had been betrothed or married to Mary Stuart. 
Elizabeth well knew how to deal with such thread 

1 Leicester, so long as he believed that Cecil, Bacon, and their party 
were to be the only sufferers, was a stout supporter of the plot ; indeed the 
Duke of Norfolk said (£. M. Harl. MSS. 6353) that it was Leicester who 
first proposed it to him. He, with Arundel, Pembroke, and Lumley, signed 
a letter to Mary (in Haynes, p. 535) asking her to consent to the match, 
but imposing the condition that no attempt to seize the English crown 
should be made during the lifetime of Elizabeth. Leicester cannot long 
have remained ignorant of the fact that the main object was to change the 
religion of England on the first opportunity ; and when he was convinced 
of this he told the Queen. Camden says, however, that it was some of 
Elizabeth's ladies that divulged the plot to her at Farnham, but La Mothe 
Fenelon, the French ambassador, gives a long report to his master (27th 
July) of Leicester's conversation with the Queen on the subject before 
Elizabeth started on her progress (Corrcspondance de La Mothe Fenelon). 

1 Hatfield Papers, vol. i. p. 422. 

2 F 


papers as Norfolk. Fever or no fever, she said, he 
must come to her instantly, even if he have to be 
carried ; and on the second summons the duke, with 
trembling steps and as slow as he dared to make them, 
came to his raging mistress, and was promptly reduced 
to a condition of lachrymose submission. 1 He was 
ordered into arrest, as were Arundel, Lumley, Pem- 
broke, and Throckmorton, the only conspirators within 
reach. Leicester was reproached with alternate tears 
and railing at having for a moment consorted with such 
traitors, whilst Mary, protesting against the renewed 
rigour of her imprisonment under Huntingdon, and 
unable to send her messengers as she had intended to 
Alba, was still as haughty and defiant as ever. 2 

There were, as we have seen, other nobles in the 
north less pusillanimous than Norfolk, and not so easy 
to reach from London. In the very letter of de Spes 
which reports Norfolk's collapse the ambassador says 
that a servant of the Duke of Northumberland had 
been to him again to ask for armed aid for the Catholic 
revolt in the north in favour of Mary. For many 

1 Just before Norfolk's summons to court, de Spes wrote to the King : 
' The Duke of Norfolk is here (in London) preparing all his friends. I will 
advise the Duke of Alba hourly." 

* De Spes wrote to Philip n. on the 14th September : ' A stronger guard 
has been placed around the Queen of Scots, although I understand that she 
will nevertheless soon find herself at liberty. All the north is now ready, 
and only awaits the release of the Queen of Scots. She is anxious to give 
vour Majesty a full account of everything, as events are now coming to a 
dead j but I wait until I see the affair commenced before I write at length. 
Perhaps God is now opening a wide door which shall lead to the great 
good of Christendom ' (Spanish Calendar, vol. ii.). This letter by itself 
shows how great and imminent was the danger of Elizabeth and her 
government at the time. On the 30th September de Spes gives another 
instance of Mary's stout-heartedness. Writing to King Philip, he says : 
* Considering the number of Norfolk's friends, I understand he cannot be 
ruined except by pusillanimity, and the Queen of Scotland has sent to urge 
him to behave valiantly, and not to fear for his life, which God would 


months the imprudent ambassador had been encourag- 
ing the nobles in their plots ; but now, in the face of 
an imminent rising, he could only refer them to the 
Duke of Alba. If only a small number of arque- 
busiers were promised to them from Flanders, said 
Northumberland, Westmoreland, and their friends, 
they would undertake to release Mary, master the 
north of England, restore Catholicism, and make 
friends with Spain. * I feel sure they will attempt the 
task, and it will be better carried through by them 
than by the Duke of Norfolk, as they are more fit for 
it, and the Queen of Scotland will have more freedom 
afterwards in the choice of her husband.' 

This was the most dangerous moment of Elizabeth's 
reign. If the aid the northern lords daily craved from 
Alba had been sent promptly, the government of 
Elizabeth would have in all probability been defeated, 
and Mary Stuart would have become, as she herself 
predicted, before the end of the year 1569 Queen of a 
Catholic Britain under Spanish protection. But Alba, 
like his master, was slow and poor. The eternal lust 
for inquiry, and the avoidance of sporting risk, blighted 
most of his promising enterprises. It is true that he 
sent the fat, unwieldy, but masterly general Ciappino 
Vitelli, with fifty experienced officers, under the guise 
of a commercial embassy, to Elizabeth, really to spy 
out the land. But the northern lords could not wait. 
The Italian commercial general's military companions 
were prompdy packed off again to Flanders ; and whilst 
Norfolk, Arundel, Lumley, Throckmorton, and their 
friends were trembling for their necks in prison in 
London, and Mary was hurried off to the strong castle 
of Tutbury, the northern lords were scattered by the 


Earl of Sussex — Westmoreland and others to lifelong 
poverty and humiliation in Spanish territory, Northum- 
berland to Scotland and thence to the scaffold ; and 
Elizabeth, her foot on the necks of all her enemies, 
was mistress of her realm again, and let her disloyal 
Catholic subjects and their real leader, Mary Stuart, 
know it. 

Terrible as must have been the disappointment to 
the Queen of Scots, she never lost heart. The weak- 
ness of Norfolk, and the imprudent encouragement 
given to her party by de Spes, had ruined for a time 
the hope of success for the one great object of her 
life. But, whilst yet the lords were in full flight from 
Elizabeth's pursuing soldiers, the Bishop of Ross still 
brought messages to the Spanish ambassador that his 
mistress c was firm and in good heart ; and that the 
Catholics of England were as determined as ever to 
carry through their plan. As soon as they learn that 
they will have the help of foreign princes, and good 
arrangement is made for support to reach them, they 
will all rise at a day's notice, and persevere until this 
country is again Catholic, and the succession is assured 
to the Queen of Scots.' * 

Mary's letters to Elizabeth and her ministers con- 
tinued, through it all, to be full of hypocritical 
professions of attachment and faithfulness — c the 
sincerity of our perfect inclination towards her' 
(Elizabeth) — as had been agreed between the writer 
and Norfolk, with whom during his imprisonment she 
kept up a close secret correspondence. Once it was 
whispered to the duke that Mary had spoken words 
of disparagement of him, and on his reproaching her 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. p. 229. 


she was very indignant. c I have sworn to you I 
never meant such a thing; for I feared your evil 
opinion of me. . . . And therefore, when you say 
you will be to me as I will to you, then you shall 
remain my own good lord, as you subscribed once, 
with God's grace, and I will remain faithfully yours, 
as I have promised. On that condition I took the 
diamond from my Lord Boyd, which I shall keep 
unseen about my neck till I give it again to the owner 
of it and of me both. 1 I am bold with you, because 
you put all to my choice. Let me hear some com- 
fortable answer again, that I may be sure you will 
mistrust me no more ; and that you will not forget 
your own, nor have anything to bend you from her ; 
for I am resolved that weal or woe shall never remove 
me from you, if you cast me not away. And if I be 
suspected by you, meaning so truly, have I not cause 
to be sorry and suspicious ? . . . And yet, if you be 
in the wrong I will submit me to you for so writing, 
and ax your pardon therefor. But that fault I could 
not forbear for very joy/ The Queen then tells her 
lover that Huntingdon has been hinting again to her 
of a marriage with Leicester, which she said should 
never happen. Huntingdon had then wagered that 
Norfolk would be her husband. i And where he said 
afore, that the Q^ of England would never let you 
out unless you refused me, I said that you were not 
worth a want if you did ; and that shortly you should 
be out. If you forget me, yet I will be glad of your 
weal. Much more if you have your liberty and 
your own granted. You may have better, but never 
nothing straighter, and more bound to obey and love 

1 Mary wore Norfolk's token til] the last hour of her life. 


you, than yours faithfully till death, and I should never 
rest so long in prison.' 1 

Though often at great risk and danger for both, 
Mary continued to write from Tutbury to her lover, 
animating and encouraging him not to abandon the 
great plan that was to crown with success so many 
heartbreaking failures. In her love-letters to Norfolk 
every art of the diplomatist and the woman is dis- 
played; but, whilst urging him to high endeavour 
and a stout heart, whilst warning him to beware and 
be cautious, the dominant note of all the letters is the 
almost provocative assurance of her personal love and 
faith. c Last of all, I pray you, my good lord, trust 
none that shall say that I ever mind to leave you, nor 
to anything that may displease you, for I have deter- 
mined never to offend you, but to remain yours: 
and, though I should never buy it so dear, I think all 
well bestowed for your friendly dealings with me, 
undeserved. So I remain yours till death conform, 
according to my faithful, dutiful promise.' 2 Soon 
after this (31st January) she suggested that she should 
attempt an escape. 8 * If it please you, I care not for 
my danger : but I would wish you would seek to do 
the like : for if you and I could both escape, we 
should find friends enough. . . . Our fault were not 
shameful ; you have promised to be mine, and I yours. 
I believe the Queen of England and the country 
should like it. . . . If you think the danger great, do 
as you think best, and let me know what you please 

1 Labanoff, vol. Hi. 

* 15th January 1570 (Labanoff, vol. iii.). 

3 She also suggested to the Spaniards, through the Bishop of Ross, 
that a few determined men might capture her by a coup de main and carry 
her to Spain, where she might organise an invasion of England. 


that I do ; for I will ever be for your sake perpetual 
prisoner, or put my life in peril, for your weal and 
mine. ... As you please command me, for I will for 
all the world follow your commands, so that you be 
not in danger by my doing so/ 

Mary, weary with close confinement, for some weeks 
in the spring had professed to entertain thoughts of 
declaring her entire submission to Elizabeth's demands. 
That the main object of this feigned desire was to pre- 
vent her deportation into Scotland at the request of 
the new rulers 1 appears probable ; but, even in this 
peril, she assured Norfolk that she would not abandon 
him, even to save herself. * If you mind not to shrink 
at the matter, I will die and live with you. Your 
fortune shall be mine, therefore let me know in all 
things your mind.' The murder of Murray shortly 
before had thrown Scotland into anarchy, and Mary's 
friends there were in open revolt against the young 
king's so-called government. Whilst Lennox was 
travelling north to obtain the regency, Morton, Mar, 
and their friends sent an envoy to Elizabeth to beg 
for Mary's surrender. This would have meant certain 
death for the latter, and the Queen of England desired 
at the moment nothing better, for affairs had taken 
a turn against her. But she dared not bear the 
responsibility of delivering Mary to such a fate, 
without exacting some appearance of guarantee for 
her safety. This the Scots would not give ; though 
Elizabeth hinted very strongly that she desired Mary's 

1 Murray had recently been murdered by one of the Hamiltons, to 
Mary's undisguised delight at first ; but her danger was rendered greater 
than ever when Lennox, the father of Darnley, became ruler of Scotland. 
His thirst for vengeance upon his daughter-in-law could only be sated by 
her execution. 


death. 1 This was the juncture or never, wrote Mary 
to Norfolk, when the Spaniards should be urged to 
help her friends in arms in Scotland, or she would be 
obliged to become a Protestant, and submit utterly. 

The Bishop of Ross had been in prison for a time 
upon suspicion of plotting with Alba on Mary's behalf, 
and the Catholic party in England and Scotland were 
again raising their heads, in view of the Pope's bull 
excommunicating Elizabeth and absolving her subjects 
from allegiance to her ; 2 a peace between the religious 
factions had been patched up in France, and a strong 
Spanish fleet was in the Channel, ostensibly to convey 
Philip's new bride to Spain. In these circumstances 
Elizabeth was forced once more to smile upon Mary, 
and enter into negotiations with her for a reconciliation 
and alliance in the autumn of 1570. The negotiations 
were insincere on both sides, especially upon that of 

1 Melville's Memoirs. Elizabeth replied to Dunfermline's doubts on the 
subject : ' I believed you were a wise man : you would press me to speak 
what is nowise necessary. You know that, for my honour, I must require 
pledges j but I think you may judge of yourself what might be best for me.* 

3 How strongly this was the case is seen in de Spes's letter to King 
Philip of 2nd September 1570 : ' I am entertaining the Queen of Scots, as 
your Majesty orders me, with letters praising her constancy and your 
desires for her liberation. Since the Pope s bull was published, the Catholic 
gentlemen ... are trying more earnestly than ever to shake off the yoke 
of the heretics, and the Bishop of Ross has come twice with letters of 
credence from his mistress, to say that the sons of the Earl of Derby, with the 
Catholic gentry of Lancashire, nave determined to rise and seize the person 
of the Queen of Scots. They tell me that this would be connived at by one 
of the sons of the Earl of Shrewsbury who guards her, and that they can 
raise 10,000 foot and 1000 horse, their only want being a supply of arque- 
busses, and some small supply of money for the horse. They are against 
the marriage with Norfolk, as he belongs to the Augsburg Confession, and 
they want a real Catholic. The Bishop of Ross tells me that Norfolk, 
either out of timidity or for some other reason, does not wish to leave 
prison, where he is only guarded by one gentleman. But Montague, 
Southampton, Lumley, Arundel, and many others will take up arms the 
moment the Lancastrians rise, as will the Earl of Worcester and his 
country, and the first thing will be to obtain possession of the Queen of 
Scots' (Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii.). 


the English queen, whose only object was to gain 
time until the Spanish fleet had passed, and the English 
party in Scotland had again become irresistible. 1 

Whilst these negotiations were pending, the reani- 
mated English Catholics, the Bishop of Ross, de Spes, 
and Mary herself never ceased for a moment plotting and 
planning for the coup which was to liberate the Queen 
and change the government of England. Norfolk alone 
of the conspirators was timorous, and the other nobles 
began to sneer at his timidity and, above all, his 
doubtful Catholicism, although Arundel and Lumley 
assured them that when he had succeeded in his 
designs he would be as true a Catholic as any of 
them. c His desire to reign,' wrote de Spes, c might 
well wean him from bad paths to good ones * ; and 
the brilliant prospect held before him at last stirred up 
a little stiffness in him, especially when talk began to 
prevail that the Duke of Anjou was to be a French 
suitor for Mary's hand. The Spaniards were now 
in favour of any candidate chosen by Mary and the 
English nobles, Norfolk, for choice, if he could be got 
to toe the Catholic line firmly. There was no longer 
any pretence that the threatened revolution was merely 
to oust Cecil. c It is certain,' wrote de Spes to Philip, 
c that the release and marriage of the Queen of Scots 
carries with it the tranquillity of Flanders and the 
restoration of religion in this country ' ; and, not once 
but a score of times, the imprudent ambassador begged 
his master to take the English revolution under his 
direct patronage, and become virtual master of a 
Catholic Britain through Mary Stuart. 

1 The text of proposed treaty between Elizabeth and Mary is in 
Labanoff, vol. Hi., and also in Haynes. 


This, however much the fact might be wrapped up, 
could only be effected by the imprisonment or removal 
of Elizabeth. It was clear that, whilst the great 
Queen lived, a Spanish protectorate and a change in 
the religion of England was impossible ; and gradually 
all or most of the principal parties to the conspiracy, 
understanding that Philip, with his blighting caution, 
would only support an accomplished fact, and would 
not risk responsibility in case of failure, came round 
to the inevitable conclusion that Elizabeth must be 
cleared out of the way before Mary and Catholicism 
could reign. 

On the 23rd March 1571, by which time Norfolk 
was again free, Rodolfo Ridolfi, the Florentine banker 
in London, visited de Spes at Winchester House. 
From the first this man had been the confidential go- 
between of the English conservative nobles and the 
ultra-Catholic powers, and he now told the ambassador 
that he was at once starting for Flanders, Rome, and 
Madrid with letters of credence and an important 
mission from Mary and Norfolk. 'The Queen of 
Scotland and the Duke erf" Norfolk, in the name of 
many other lords and gentlemen who are attached to 
your Majesty's interests and the Catholic faith, are 
sending Ridolfi to offer their services to your Majesty, 
and to represent to you that the time is now ripe to 
take a step of great benefit to Christianity, as in detail 
Ridolfi will set forth to your Majesty. The letter of 
credence from the Duke is in the cipher that I have 
sent to Zayas (the King's secretary), for fear it should 
be taken.' l In a private letter to Zayas by the same 
courier de Spes lifts the curtain a little more for us 

1 Spanish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 300. 


to see the dark secret behind it. * It is necessary that 
Ridolfi should have audience of his Majesty with the 
utmost secrecy, as you will be able to arrange on so 
important a matter as this.' l 

The written instructions given by Mary and Nor- 
folk to their envoy still further enlighten us. The 
Queen's instructions contain an impassioned statement 
of the evil treatment that she had been subjected to, 
and the determination of the English Catholics to 
strike a blow to restore the Catholic religion. Ridolfi 
is to set forth the miserable condition of the Queen, 
in daily peril of death, and to say that the Duke of 
Norfolk and the nobles of England are resolved to 
risk everything, and, with the aid of Christian princes, 
to assert the right of Mary to the throne, and make 
England Catholic. The plan is for Norfolk to continue 
for the present to feign Protestantism, in order not to 
lose the support of his Protestant friends, but he is 
pledged to restore the Catholic religion after success has 
crowned the enterprise, and to follow the orders of the 
Pope and King Philip in all things. The Pope and the 
King are to be prayed to favour the marriage of Mary 
and Norfolk, 2 and not that with Anjou which has been 
proposed, and the envoy is to assure them that France 
is to be entirely excluded from the proposed attempt. 
Above all, Spanish armed help must be sent from 
Flanders, and success is then assured. Norfolk's 
instructions to Ridolfi are to profess his full adhesion 

1 Spanish Calendar, vol. ii. p. 300. 

s Amongst other things Mary, now quite cured of her infatuation for 
Both well, tells the Pope that she was carried away against her will to 
Dunbar, and violated oy Bothwell, who pretended to have obtained a 
divorce from his wife, and that she was forced by him into a marriage. 
She begs the Pope to pronounce this union invalid, that she may marry 


to Catholicism, to beg for the approval of his marriage 
with Mary, and to solicit 6000 arquebusiers, 4000 
arquebusses, 2000 corselets, and 25 field-guns with 
munitions, 3000 horses, and a sum of money to aid 
his revolt. The forces should be sent to Harwich or 
Portsmouth, and the duke undertakes to join them 
at once on their landing with 20,000 infantry and 
3000 cavalry. He also wisely urges upon the 
Spaniards the need for excluding French influence, 
and counteracting the Anjou match for Mary ; and 
offers to become in all things the humble servant of 
Spain only. 1 Even if the Scottish crown be restored 
to Mary, Norfolk says that the nobles are determined 
to fight for her right to that of England, and to obtain 
possession of the person^ of Elizabeth} 

Ridolfi was first to go to the Duke of Alba in 
Flanders, and obtain his opinion on the whole matter 
before proceeding to Rome and Madrid ; and he car- 
ried with him orders from Mary c to expound verbally 
the secret part of his mission, adding thereto what the 
Bishop of Ross will tell him verbally.* As the written 
portion of the instructions deal with the Catholic rising, 
the restoration of religion, the marriage with Norfolk 
and the armed forces required, the secret part to be 
verbally imparted by the bishop must have been some- 

1 Labanoff, vol. iii. 

* The utter blackness of Norfolk's treason is increased by the solemn 
pledge he had taken in June 1 570 as a condition of his release from cus- 
tody. € I do by this writing, signed by my own hand and sealed with my 
seal, freely, voluntarily, and absolutely grant, promise, and bind myself by 
the bond of my allegiance to your Majesty, my sovereign lady, never to 
offend your highness . . . but do utterly renounce and revoke all that 
which on my part anywise hath passed, with a full intention never to deal 
in that cause of marriage of the Queen of Scots, nor in any cause belonging 
to her.* At the very time this pledge was signed, Norfolk and Mary were 
in full and affectionate correspondence, and continued so afterwards. 


thing beyond these. We shall see by Alba's report to 
Philip, and the consultation of the Spanish council of 
state, that this most secret part was the murder of 
Elizabeth, proposed by Mary Stuart and Norfolk, 
through Ridolfi, * the real remedy for all the ills,' as 
de Spes soon afterwards called it. 

Ridolfi arrived at Brussels early in April, and saw 
Alba at once. When the envoy talked about seizing 
Elizabeth and the Tower of London, Alba became 
interested, but objected the difficulty of doing it, 
seeing the failure of the previous conspiracies against 
her. Ridolfi replied that all was ready and assured 
this time, and there would be no failure, 'but the 
lords saw that they could not carry out the full intent 
without the support and aid of a powerful prince and 
the Pope.' Alba's first care was to warn Ridolfi that 
the French must have nothing to do with it ; but 
beyond enjoining secrecy, above all things especially 
from the French, he could give to the envoy nothing 
but vague words, and refer him to the personal deci- 
sion of the remote little despot in the middle of Spain. 
When, however, he himself wrote to Philip, he was 
much more explicit. This, he urged with unwonted 
warmth, was an opportunity which must not be missed 
of revenging themselves upon the Queen of England. 
As usual with him, he set forth interminably all the 
difficulties and objections to the sending of the armed 
force openly to England, as proposed by Mary and 
Norfolk, seeing the penury with which Spain was 
cursed, and the difficulty of keeping secret the neces- 
sary armed preparations ; * and if the enterprise were 
discovered it would probably cost the life of Mary and 
Norfolk at least.' He was a little doubtful, too, of 


Ridolfi's trustworthiness, seeing that he was a Floren- 
tine. But, after giving full rein to his doubts and 
fears, he sends to his master his final advice. c But in 
case the Queen of England were to die, either of a 
natural death or otherwise, or if these lords were to seize 
her person, without any interference on the py t of your 
Majesty, I should then find no difficulty whatever. 
It therefore appears to me that in case the Queen of 
England dies, naturally or otherwise, or she should fall 
into the hands of the Duke of Norfolk, your Majesty 
ought not to miss so good an opportunity to gain the 
object aimed at ' ; and, with this, the Duke of Alba 
recommends his king to reply to Ridolfi's message 
that within twenty-five or thirty days after Elizabeth's 
death the six thousand soldiers demanded by Norfolk 
should be sent to him. 

Ridolfi arrived in Madrid from Rome early in July, 
with fervent letters of recommendation from the Pope ; 
and on the 7 th July the whole question of his mission 
was discussed by the council of state. The point 
submitted for decision was as follows : c That it is 
advisable that the associated lords in England should 
commence by killing or capturing Queen Elizabeth 
during her progress.* Ridolfi, it was stated in the 
course of the discussion, had assured them that the 
conspirators had trustworthy persons near the Queen 
for the purpose ; and, after an exhaustive consideration, 
the council resolved that the course proposed should 
be adopted, the invading force to be forthwith pre- 
pared in Flanders, on the pretext of the going thither 
of a new governor, who was to carry to Alba 200,000 
ducats to defray the expenses. But the first and most 
important point, in the opinion of the council, was 



that the Queen of England should be assassinated as 
soon as possible, 'for when that has been done the 
whole thing will be over ' ; and that immediately the 
news reached Flanders saying that the principal 
execution' had been effected, the troops and material 
requested by Norfolk should be sent under experienced 
generals to force Mary upon the throne and impose 
Catholicism by push of pike upon the English people. 
But again it was too late. The deadening centrali- 
sation of Philip's methods made it impossible for his 
officers to do anything without reference to him per- 
sonally in far-off Spain, and all his enterprises failed 
because watchful opponents had ample time to foresee 
and parry his blows. Cecil well knew that the Bishop 
of Ross in London was Mary's principal intermediary 
with the Catholic powers. His every movement was 
spied. Ridolfi's visits to the Spanish ambassador, and 
his departure for Flanders, were duly reported ; and 
also the fact that the Bishop of Ross's Flemish secre- 
tary, a young man named Charles Bailly, had accom- 
panied him. Ridolfi's interviews with Alba at Brussels 
were known to Cecil as soon as the wind could waft 
the news, and every port in the south and east of 
England was closely watched by Cecil's agents. 
About the 12th of April Charles Bailly landed at 
Dover from Flanders. He was found to be carrying 
in his baggage a number of copies of a book that had 
recently been issued at Liege in favour of Mary 
Stuart's claim to the English crown ; nor was this all, 
for upon him was found a bulky packet of correspond- 
ence in cipher addressed to his master, the Bishop of 
Ross. The unfortunate young man was himself sent 
in custody to the Marshalsea in London for inquiry, 


whilst his packet was taken by Lord Cobham, governor 
of Dover Castle, for transmission to Cecil. 

The Cobhams belonged to the party of conservative 
nobles, and, by a trick of one of the younger brothers 
of the house, the real packet was sent to de Spes, 
whilst a dummy imitation of it was what reached 
Cecil. The imprisoned secretary wrote from his 
prison an imprudent letter to the Bishop of Ross, 
which, of course, was intercepted. 'Now that 
Rodolfi's letter and the decipher had reached their 
destination, he had no fear/ he said. 'He would 
confess nothing, though they pluck him into a hundred 
pieces ' ; and he begged the bishop to tell him how 
to answer the questions put to him. The bishop 
was just as imprudent as his agent, animating him to 
stand firm, threatening the villain that had betrayed 
him, and saying how much Queen Mary's cause would 
benefit by Bailly's sufferings. The poor wretch knew 
but little of the particulars of Rodolfi's mission, but 
he had written the letters for him to the principals in 
England, and gradually what he knew was wrung out 
of him on the rack. 1 

Every day fresh letters went from him, with 
agonising appeals to the Bishop of Ross ; until at 
last, half crazy with terror and pain, he confessed that 
Alba had received Ridolfi favourably, and had sent 
him on to Rome and Madrid ; that the object of his 
mission was to demand armed assistance in behalf of 
two persons in England unnamed. It was sufficient 
to draw the Bishop of Ross into the Tower, and 
within sight of the rack, in spite of his cloth and his 

1 The whole of the depositions are in Hatfield Papers, vol. i. ? and the 
circumstances are described in the Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. ii. 


diplomatic standing. From him, too, in his agony 
and terror, some extraordinary admissions were wrung, 
and thus gradually the net was widened, and swept 
into Cecil's clutches, one after the other, many of 
the confidants and tools ; and the plot to make Mary 
Queen of England was patiently unravelled. But 
still there was no actual proof against Mary and 
Norfolk, for their names in the writings were always 
indicated by cipher numbers, of which the key was 

At length, in August, a large sum of money 1 was 
found in the possession of one of the Duke of 
Norfolk's retainers, with a cipher letter. The money 
and letter, it appeared on inquiry, were to be forwarded 
to Lord Herries and Mary's friends in Scotland ; and 
all those who were known to have handled it were 
at once arrested. The Duke of Norfolk's secretary, 
Hickford, and his steward, Bannister, were first laid 
by the heels, and all their secrets twisted out of them. 
Barker, the duke's confidential servant, gave evidence 
that condemned his master ; the Bishop of Ross, seeing 
that all was lost, his most confidential correspondence 
with Mary deciphered, and Norfolk's proceedings 
known, made a clean breast of the whole business, 
and, according to his examiner, Dr. Wilson, surpassed 
Mary's bitterest enemies in vituperation of her. 2 Then 

1 Curiously enough this sum of money, £600, was received from the 
French ambassador, so that Mary and Norfolk were deceiving the Spaniards 
as well as they were others. 

8 Wilson reports to Burghley that the bishop said : ' The Queen is not 
fit for any husband 5 for she first poisoned her husband the French king ; 
again she hath consented to the murder of her late husband, Lord Darnley j 
thirdly, she matched with the murderer, and brought him (Darnlev) to the 
field to be murdered $ and last of all she pretended marriage with the Duke 
of Norfolk, with whom she would not long have kept faith, and the Di'ke 

2 G 


Norfolk was caught in the toils, and made as poor an 
exhibition of himself as a baffled conspirator well could 
do. He only hoped to wed Mary, he declared, by 
the favour of others, and with Elizabeth's blessing. 
He was very sorry he had acted so falsely, and would 
never do it again. He had never been a Catholic, and 
yielded wholly to her Majesty. He> good man, had 
not dreamed of bringing a foreign force into Eng- 
land, or of touching the sacred person of his sovereign. 
The Bishop of Ross, he said, was the real conspirator ; 
and, with such sorry stuff as this, the first and most 
beloved noble in England whined for mercy and his 
bare life. 1 Elizabeth was loath to sacrifice him, and 
withdrew her warrant for his execution more than 
once. But at length, on the 2nd June 1572, Norfolk's 
head fell on Tower Hill, and Mary Queen of Scots 
was free to undertake another 'love affair,' if she 
had heart to do it. De Spes was expelled from 
England, with every circumstance of ignominy, for 
his futile plotting ; Philip and Alba were defied by 
the English queen ; and the Catholic nobles, trembling 
for their necks, shrank into abashed obscurity ; whilst 
Mary Stuart, threatened openly with death, ill and 
heartbroken at the downfall of her hopes, confined to 
two small rooms in Sheffield Castle, and spied night 
and day, was yet haughty and defiant, ceaselessly 
demanding through La Mothe her full sovereign 
privileges, replying vigorously to Elizabeth's accusa- 

would not have had the best days with her/ Weil might Wilson add to 
this : ' Lord 1 what a people are these, and what a Queen ! and what an 
Ambassador ! ' It may be safely surmised that, if Leslie really did say what 
is reported, he must have been crazy with terror at the time {Hatfield 
Papers , vol. i. p. 564). 

1 See State trials and letters from Norfolk to Cecil {Hatfield Papers t 
vol. !.)• 


tions against her, and still plotting with Alba for the 
invasion of England in her favour. 1 

One more political love affair, with a man she never 
saw, was interwoven into Mary's ceaseless plots to 
gain her end. Unlike the rest of her similar intrigues, 
in this last case the initiative was due to the ambition 
of others rather than of the Queen herself. Philip of 
Spain had found himself in 1 57 1 not only at death-grip 
with the forces of the Protestant Reformation in his 
own Netherlands dominions, but forced to defend the 
supremacy of Christianity in the Mediterranean against 
the aggressive power of Islam. His own illegitimate 
brother, Don John of Austria, the most splendid and 
ambitious young prince in Europe, thirsting for fame, 
begged to be allowed to lead the hosts of the Cross 
against the infidel. Philip, as usual, was cold and 
doubtful. He could not allow the ambition of others, 
even of his brother, to become a factor of his policy ; 
and when at length he sent Don John to command the 
Christian fleet, he went surrounded by sage mentors, 
fenced in by precise limitations, and bound by strict 
instructions. But when in September the great fleet 
of galleys swept out of Messina, to find and beat the 
Turk, who could think of the niggard injunctions of 
the King far away, when the young prince, gallant in 
white velvet and gold, with his fair curls floating in 
the sun, stood erect in the stern castle of his gilded 
barge, with the sacred banner of the Pope fluttering 
over him, and the prayers of all Christendom wafting 
his fleet to victory ? 

1 Her agent in Flanders was now Lord Seton, and in March 1572 his 
confidential papers were seized on his way to Scotland, containing details 
of the aid that was being prepared by Alba for the liberation and restoration 
of Mary. 


The battle of Lepanto made Don John the darling 
prince of Catholic Europe. The soberest ministers 
were carried away with the enthusiasm of the victor ; 
and when Tunis was captured by him there opened 
before the prince the dream of carving for himself 
a great new Christian empire in Africa and the East, 
which should rival the glories of Alexander's realm. 
The Pope blessed the project, and all Italy and Spain 
rang with the echoes of the new crusade. But one 
man, and he the chief, was cold and unmoved. Philip 
would not, even if his struggle with Protestantism 
had allowed him, employ his power for the advance- 
ment of others ; and to all beseeching prayers he 
turned a deaf ear. Tunis must be dismantled and 
abandoned, if dreams of a new empire for his brother 
were to be the result of its capture. In vain Don 
John protested, and at last disobeyed. Philip's 
method in such cases was invariable and efficacious. 
He stopped supplies, left Don John's letters un- 
answered, and abandoned Tunis to its fate. Within 
a year the fortress fell to the Turk again, and Don 
John's garrison of eight thousand men were put to the 

The young hero, in bitter resentment, stayed in 
Italy until his brother needed him for a task which 
would surely, thought Philip, give no scope for his 
mad ambition. Alba's system of blood and iron had 
failed in Flanders. Hellish cruelty had only made 
the stubborn Dutchmen still more dour. The unpaid 
Spanish and Italian soldiery had broken loose and be- 
come a murderous rabble ; and Hollanders, Flemings, 
and Walloons, Protestant and Catholic alike, were all 
banded together now to defend their homes from 


rapine. Bitter as was the pill for him to swallow, 
Philip had but one possible course, if he would save 
even the appearance of his sovereignty over Flanders — 
the conciliation of the Flemings on any terms, and the 
immediate departure of all the foreign troops from the 
land they had outraged. He chose Don John for the task, 
and to his surprise the prince accepted it with alacrity. 
The reason was evident when Don John, instead of 
travelling with all speed direct to Flanders, disobeyed 
orders and rushed to Spain to see his brother. Let 
him, he prayed, send the fierce soldiery, the war- 
dogs of Alba, away from Flanders by sea, instead 
of marching them to Italy by land. Let him suddenly 
descend upon England with these old campaigners, 
marry the captive Queen of Scots, crush the heretics 
and their Queen, and reign over Britain with Mary as 
the humble servants of Spain. 

Philip listened with a grim face to the heroics of his 
brother, and sent him on his way with fair words, but 
with a determination not to be driven to fight Eliza- 
beth, except at his own time and in his own way ; and, 
what is more, for his own sole advantage. The news 
of the design came to Orange and to Elizabeth long 
before Don John appeared on the Flemish frontier ; 
and the States insisted more sternly than ever that the 
bloodthirsty ruffians should march away by land be- 
fore Don John should enter Flanders as governor. 
Hoping against hope that at last he might have his 
way, Don John alternately raved in anger and wept 
in despair ; and in the meantime obsequious friends 
were soon able to establish communications with Mary. 

She was always ready to clutch at the veriest straw 
that might float her into the harbour of her hopes ; 


and no wonder, when the new proposals involved 
marriage with the victor of Lepanto, the prince of 
romance that Europe idolised, that she smiled from 
her sad captivity at so tempting a prospect. The 
Spanish agent in London at the time was a merchant 
named Antonio de Guaras; 1 and this man, doubtless 
in the belief that he was serving King Philip's objects 
in the matter, became the intermediary for the cor- 
respondence between the Scottish queen and her new 
suitor. Guaras was justly proud of the secrecy of 
his cipher, for most of his letters even yet remain 
undeciphered ; and certainly none of his letters about 
Mary had been intercepted so early as the 20th 
January 1577, before Don John's entry into Brussels. 
But on that date Mary herself mentions in a letter to 
the Archbishop of Glasgow, in Paris, that Elizabeth 
and her people were extremely jealous of the idea of 
her marriage with Don John. 2 A little later (18th 
March), when Don John had patched up his short, 
hollow truce with the Flemings, Mary writes how 
suspicious the English queen is of the pacification, 
* fearing that there may be an understanding between 
the kings of France and Spain, to trouble this realm ; 
and that I, with Don John, may have entefed into 
it. With such talk as this, founded, as I think, on 
surmise, without any precise knowledge, they have 
become so alarmed they are already preparing for war, 
and doing their best to avert the storm, by stirring up 
the French rebels to fresh disturbances.' Mary ex- 
presses her fear that the fresh severity with which she 

1 A full account of this man and his relations with Mary will be found 
in my book in Spanish, Esfanoles e IngUses en el Sigh XVI. 
* labanoff, vol. iv. 


is being treated may be caused by this alarm, and that 
worse treatment may be in store for her, * if it should 
happen that Don John were to make a descent upon 
this country, in accordance with the general plan you 
describe to me, even if such descent be without my 
knowledge or consent. So that you must keep your 
eyes open, and let me know all the details you can 
learn of the project ; and if it is still being persevered 
in ; for I can assure you I have not been informed of 
it, further than you have written to me.' 1 

When Poulet and Wilson went to Flanders, shortly 
before this letter was written, to reconcile Don John 
with the States, the prince affected to laugh at the idea 
of a marriage between himself and Mary ; but before 
Wilson returned home he was able to obtain possession 
of some of Guaras's letters to the prince. 2 They were 
partially, and with great difficulty, deciphered ; and 
sufficient was understood to prove that the Spanish 
agent was in constant communication with the captive 
Queen. He was closely watched thenceforward by 
Cecil's spies. In September 1577 a letter of his to 
Zayas, Philip's secretary, says : * I have received the 
enclosed letters from the Queen of Scotland. I 
will continue to entertain her with letters. I have 
very secure arrangements by which I can send and 
receive letters from her, however important. The 
world hopes that God is reserving her for some great 
service to His cause, and this Queen (Elizabeth) and 
her friends fear that this is the case.' 8 

In October the same man writes to Don John's 
secretary about some * great service,' which is being 
prepared. And then the suspended sword fell upon 

1 Labanoff, vol. iv. ' Foreign Calendar. 3 Spanish Calendar. 


Guaras. Most of his secret papers, including all of 
those from Mary, were hustled away before Cecil's 
police could seize them ; but Guaras was carried to the 
Tower, and with the rack and the gallows always before 
him for the next two years, he lay in a dungeon, to 
be at last contemptuously expelled from England as a 
conspirator against the Queen. He was stout-hearted, 
and the examiners could gain but little information 
from him. The nature of the charges against him 
are, however, plain from the inquiries put to him. 1 
* What letters have passed between you and the Qufeen 
of Scots ? * * What letters have passed between her 
and Don John ? ' * How far did Don John proceed 
in the marriage treaty with the Scottish queen ; and 
who were the principal dealers therein ? * 

But the danger of the Don John marriage soon 
passed away. The King frowned at his brother's wild 
beseeching letters, and left him without money ; once 
more Don John quarrelled with and defied the States, 
and shut himself up in Namur. The foreign troops 
marched out of Flanders by land, and the prince, 
without money, credit, ships, or men, was not only 
powerless to invade England and marry Mary, but 
was unable to subdue the Flemings themselves, and 
died miserably in despair. It was almost as if a malison 
accompanied the matrimonial regards of Mary Stuart. 
One after the other, her husbands and suitors had 
died prematurely and unhappily : Francis in his early 
youth, Darnley cruelly murdered, Bothwell a prisoner 
in exile, Norfolk on the scaffold, and Don John of 
a broken heart ; all dead but Mary and her great 
ambition, which could never die whilst she breathed. 

1 HdtfieU Papers, vol. ill. 


Once only did she seem to waver. In 1583, when 
the Catholic party was paramount in Scotland, and a 
great conspiracy against Elizabeth and England was 
being hatched by Mendoza, the Guises, the Jesuits, 
and Lennox-d'Aubigny, the Queen of England as 
a diversion sent to propose terms for Mary's release, 
with permission for her to go to France or Scotland. 
Mary was ill and old, she herself told Beal, and needed 
peace ; and she wrote to Mendoza, the Spanish ambas- 
sador, to ask his advice as to whether she should make 
terms with Elizabeth for her liberation. He thought 
nothing of the wretched woman or of her freedom, and 
advised her, as he says, * with the greatest artifice/ to 
refuse all offers of freedom or reconciliation ; because, 
as he wrote to his King, her release might be injurious 
to Spanish aims in England, especially if Mary were in 
a place where French influences could reach her. 1 

Thenceforward, until her death, Mary was the centre 
around which revolved the great Spanish intrigue to 
obtain possession of England, in order that Philip 
might triumph over the Reformation. Under the 
cunning guidance of Mendoza all other ends, even 
her own best interests, were set aside by the Queen of 
Scots. The ties of blood, the claims of humanity, the 
tolerant pity of an ageing woman, who herself had 
suffered much, all were dwarfed and deadened in her 
by the ever-growing ambition to triumph over her 
foes, and sit on the throne of Catholic Britain before 
she died. For that she was willing that the founda- 
tions of her regal state should be set deep in blood, 
that foreign pikemen should interpose an impassable 
barrier between her and the people she sought to rule, 

1 Spanish Calendar, Hume, vol. iii. 


and that, after her, there should succeed, not her own 
child, but the narrow, sinister despot, whose very 
name made Englishmen shudder. 

The amorousness, which in her earlier years had 
sometimes for a space caused her to forget her over- 
powering ambition, was itself conquered now. Once 
it pleased the cantankerous virago, Bess of Hardwick, 
Countess of Shrewsbury, to accuse her henpecked 
husband, the guardian of Mary, of falling a prey to 
the wiles of his prisoner, and softening her captivity 
for love of her. Perhaps Shrewsbury, who was always 
kind and considerate to Mary, did fall under the 
dominion of her plaintive smile : most men did when 
Mary deigned to exercise her fascination upon them. 
But with the death of Norfolk, Mary's attempts to 
use the resources of courtship as an element in her 
diplomacy came to an end. Thenceforward the hope 
of triumph over her foes by any desperate means 
monopolised her caged activity; but love and mar- 
riage formed no part of her plans. At that game she 
had measured herself with Elizabeth, and had been 
beaten ; for she had found that, for her, political love 
affairs had been but Dead Sea fruit, that had blighted 
all her own fair prospects, and had brought her lovers, 
one by one, to sorrow and to death. 

Well it would have been for her and her cause if 
from the first she had been able to recognise the dis- 
advantages under which she laboured, in competing 
with Elizabeth in the employment of her own disposal 
in marriage as an instrument of her policy. She was 
warm-hearted and trustful: Elizabeth was cold and 
suspicious. Elizabeth had always by her side the 
judicious, clear-sighted Cecil to save her from herself 


in her hours of weakness, and Leicester as a permanent 
matrimonial possibility and a foil to other suitors : 
Mary was surrounded by the most self-seeking set of 
traitors and scoundrels the world ever saw, and both 
the men she thought she loved were utterly unworthy 
of her ; and, above all, Elizabeth had strength to 
remain single, whilst Mary had not. The contest 
was an unequal one, and the weaker competitor lost 
because she was the more human of the two and the 
less fortunate. 


Abroath, lord, 436. 

Alba, duke of, 100, 178, 442, 444, 

445> 456 ; in the Ridolfi plot, 458- 

Alloa Castle, Mary at, 325. 
Almond Bridge, Mary kidnapped at, 


Angelo, 188. 

Angus, earl of, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 
27, 28. 

Anjou, duke of (Henry in. of 
France), proposals for his mar- 
riage, 189, 200, 217, 226, 236, 


' Ainslie's * bond, 376, 435. 

Argyle, countess of, 304, 320. 

earl of, 12, 15, 26, 83, 130, 186, 

251, 255, 259, 272, 300, 303, 312, 
3£4, 320, 323. 342, 369. 370, 377. 
384, 403, 410, 416 ; commands at 
Langsyde for Mary, 423. 

Arran, earl of, Regent of Scotland, 
first duke of Chatelherault, 12, 13, 
14, I5> 17, ai, 22, 25, 30, 32, 34, 
44> 5*» 67, 88 ; greets Mary on her 
arrival in Scotland, 121 ; retires to 
Dumbarton, 127, 132 ; plot to cap- 
ture Mary, 138; surrenders Dum- 
barton, 139; Mary's anger with, 
251 ; assents to the Darnley match, 
255, 278 ; submits to Mary, 295 ; 
pardoned, 298, 411. 

earl of (eldest son of Chatelher- 
ault), plans for his marriage with 
Mary, 32, 36, 101, retires to Dum- 
barton, 127, 132, 137, 138; his 
plots to kidnap Mary, i-fi passim ; 
his escape, and madness, 139, 140, 
149, ISO. 

Arschot, duchess of, 105, 185, 188, 
198, 214, 217, 235. 

Arundel, earl of, 434, 439, 445, 45°. 

Athol, earl of, 267, 269, 272, 284, 

308. 3*3> 384. 

Aumale, duke of (prince of Guise), 

I Bailly, Charles, the bishop of Ross's 
I secretary, arrested, 463, 464. 
! Balfour, Sir James, 359, 360, 372, 
! 384; ready to betray Bothwell and 

Mary, 391, 395, 405; denounced 

by Mary, 421. 
Banner of vengeance, the, 397, 401, 

Bannister, the duke of Norfolk's 

steward, arrested, 465. 
Barker, a servant of the duke of 

Norfolk, arrested, 465. 
Bastien, Mary's valet, 362, 369. 
Bayonne, the meeting at, 196, 281, 

Beal, his visit to Mary (1583), 473. 
Beaton, archbishop of Glasgow, Scot- 
tish ambassador in Paris, 261 ; 

agrees with Alba at Bayonne, 287, 

353, 366. 
cardinal, 11, 12; regent, 12, 13, 

14 ; arrest of, 15, 17 ; released, 22, 

25 ; triumph of, 26, 30 ; murdered, 

3I.33- . . 

John, his mission to Guzman, 

215, 236, 281 ; sent to France, 419. 

Mary, 168, 320. 

Bedford, earl of, warden of the 
marches, 100, 102, 103, 104, 211, 
304 ; at James's baptism, 346, 407. 

Blackater, captain, 379 ; hanged for 
Darnley's murder, 405. 

Borthwick Castle, Mary at, 394-396. 

laird of, 395, 397. 

Bothwell, James Hepburn, earl of, 
1 1 9s 131; Arran's plan to murder 
him, 138; joins Arran's plan to 
kidnap Mary, 138, 139; returns to 
Scotland, 284-287; escapes after 
Rizzio's murder, 308, 309, 314; 
not to remain with Mary when her 
child was born, 320; t in great 


favour, 324; his unpopularity, 327, 
3*8f 3^9 ; his alleged amours with 
Mary, 330; wounded on the border, 
337 ; visits Mary at Jedburgh, 339 ; 
stays with her there, 340 ; scandal- 
ous reports thereon, 340; at the 
Craigmillar conference against 
Darnley, 342 ; at James's baptism, 
346 ; rumours of his amours with 
Mary* 351 ; arranges the murder of 
Darnley, 360; after the crime, 
365 ; suspected of complicity, 367 ; 
accompanies Mary at Seton, 369; 
publicly accused of the murder, 
369, 370; his trial and acquittal, 
37**375 » Mary's infatuation for 
him, 373 ; grants him Dunbar, etc., 
373 ; seises the queen, 379 ; at Dun- 
bar, 380 ; boasts that he will marry 
the queen, 382 ; divorces his wife, 
383; the lords revolt against him, 
384; bond signed against, at Stirling, 
385 ; preparations for defence, 386 ; 
his behaviour to Mary, 388-390; 
marriage, 389 ; after the wedding, 
390-391 ; threats of the lords 
against, 394; flight to Borthwick, 
394; flight to Dunbar, 396; at 
Carberry Hill, 399; flight, 400- 
401 ; Mary refuses to abandon him, 
404 ; his wanderings, 414. 

countess of (Jane Gordon), 373- 

376; divorced, 383, 384. 

Bourbons, the, 52, 61, 84, 87, 89, 93, 

Boyd, lord, signs the Rizzio bond, 
303; at York, 433. 

Brantome, 5, 56, 97, 99. 

Buchanan, George, 57, 145 ; his state- 
ments to Mary's detriment, 325, 
330.340; at York, 433. 

Caithness, earl of, 377. 

Calais, loss of, 72 ; Mary sails from, 

115, 117, 121. 
Carberry Hill, 397-401. 
Carey, George, proposal to marry 

him to Mary, 440. 
Carlos, Don, suggested marriage with 

Mary, 101, 105, 106, no, 11 1, 137, 

140, 148-155. x6i f 171, 172, 173. 

178, 182, 183, 185; Philip declines 

the match, 197, 214, 217, 226, 238, 

239, 245. 
Carwood, Margaret, her marriage, 


Casket Papers, 4, 7, 352, 353, 357 ; 
the sonnets, 374, 383,405; Murray's 
talk with Guzman about them, 407 ; 
produced at York, 434. 

Cassilis, lord, 66, 267, 377- 

Castelnau de la Mauvissiere, French 
ambassador, 124, 198-200, 217, 
237. 243, 281-283 ; present at 
Elizabeth's reception of Murray, 
289, 320. 

Cateau Cambresis, treaty of, 72. 

Catharine de Medici, queen of France, 
2, 40, 43. 47, 64, 69, 82, 86, 93. 
94, 95 ; queen-regent, 95, 101, 103, 
1 10 ; her intrigues against a Spanish 
match for Mary, 140 ; attempts to 
estrange Mary and Elizabeth, 146 ; 
smiles upon Lorraine, 189, 195 ; 
stops the Spanish match, 198, 236, 
239, 281 ; shocked at the Bothwell 
marriage, 392; endeavours to ob- 
tain possession of James, 392 ; at- 
tempts to conciliate Murray, 407. 

Catholics, English, 154, 183, 194, 
212, 214, 239, 247, 261, 296, 299, 

301, 3*7> 319. 323» 348. 349. 3°*- 
Catholic lords, Scottish, 15, 21, 107, 

108, 125, 145, 183, 403. 407; 
Mary's imprisc 

im, lord Burgh 
74, 113 ; his dealing with Lething- 

resent Mary's imprisonment, 410, 
Cecil, William, lord Burghley, 73, 

ton, 148-149, 181 ; plots against, 
196 ; conveys to Elizabeth the news 
of James's birth, 320 ; his policy 
thwarted by Elizabeth's regard for 
royalty, 407, 427; plots against, 
439. 442, 443 ? discovers the Ridolfi 
plot, 463. 

Cesford, laird of, 339. 

Chalmers, David, 330. 

Chamberlain, English ambassador in 
Spain, his conversation with Alba, 

Charles, archduke of Austria, no, 
in, 150, 161, 172, 173, 176, 179, 
187, 197; Elizabeth's approaches 
to, 199, 239, 246, 249, 263, 348. 

v., emperor, 1, 9, 11, 29. 

IX., king of France, 2, 96 ; his 

love for Mary, 99, 101, in, 174 ; 
proposals for his marriage, 189, 199, 
200, 226, 236, 239, 249. 

Chastelard, 119, 145; return to 
Scotland, 158 ; probable explana- 
tion of his conduct, 160; his 



attempts on the Queen, 162-163 ; 
executed, 164. 

Chatelherault, town of, 89. 

duke of. See Arran. 

Chatillons, the, 52, 93, 96.' 

Cheman, French envoy to Scot- 
land, 15. 

Chenonceau, Mary at, 89, 94. 

Ciappino Vitelli, sent to England, 

Cobham, lord, 464. 

Coligny, admiral, 141. 

Condi, prince of, 94, 103, 145, 215, 
236, 249. 

Corrichie, battle of, 144. 

Courtnay, 53. 

Craig, John, reluctantly publishes 
Mary's banns with Bothwell, 386. 

Craigmillar, 107 ; the conference at, 


Crawford, earl of, 267, 384. 

Darnley's messenger. His con- 
versation with Mary, 354; his 
version of Darnley's interview with 
Mary, 357. 

Creich, laird of (Robert Beaton), 
present at Rizzio's murder, 305. 

Crookstone of Borthwick, 395. See 
also Borthwick. 

Dacrb, Leonard, lord, offers to 
revolt for Mary, 443. 

Dalgleish, George, 352, 405. 

Dandelot, 141. 

D'Anville (Montmorenci), 118, 126, 
158, 162. 

Daraley, Henry Stuart, lord, 7, 8, 
I35> 140- 141; in favour with 
Elizabeth, 177, iS*. »93» *97, 
201, 202, 208, 213-214, 216- 
217 ; goes to Scotland, 217; crosses 
the Border, 221 ; description of, 
222; first interview with Mary, 
223; favourable impression, 224; 
Murray's alarm, 228-229 ; his rise 
in favour, 234 ; reported married, 
248 ; Mary's infatuation for, 255 ; 
created earl of Ross, 255; his 
folly and petulance, 257 ; plots to 
capture him, 259 ; his suit approved 
of by Spain, 261 ; privately married 
to Mary, 265 ; duke of Albany, 
266 ; publicly married, 267 ; 
offended with Knox, 277 ; quarrels 
with Mary, 285 ; thrown into the 
background, 296; his discontent, 

297 ; ostentatiously Catholic, 298 ; 
jealous of Rizzio, 300; plots to 
obtain the crown matrimonial, 
302-304 ; at Rizzio's murder, 305- 
308 ; betrays the Rizzio murderers, 
31 X ; his fear of Morton's pardon, 
316; his decline, 317; says Mary 
incited him to adultery, 318 ; with 
Mary when her child was born, 
320 ; is neglected by Mary, 323 ; 
follows her to Alloa, 326 ; in fear 
of Morton, 326; projected flight 
to France, 332-335 ; his Catholic 
conspiracy, 333 ; sulks at Stirling, 
etc., 340 ; his removal discussed at 
Craigmillar, 342-343 ; at Stirling, 
but in retirement, 345 ; warned by 
his father, 345 ; flight to Glasgow, 
346 ; his illness, 352 ; his inter- 
view with Mary, 355 ; his objec- 
with Ma 

tions to go with 

of his friends, 357 ; decides to go, 
357 ; taken to Kirk-o'-Field, 359 ; 
Mary's kindness to him there, 

wy> 35 6 ; fe ars 
decides to go, 
o'-Field, 359 ; 

360 ; his murder, 363 ; his burial, 
368 ; bond for his murder handed 
to Mary by Bothwell at Carberry, 

De Croc, French ambassador, 140; 
his interviews with Darnley, 333, 
334, 335, 345, 3*5 5 attempts to 
mediate, 395, 397-399- 

De Foix, French ambassador, 133, 
137, 236, «39> 2835 Present at 
Murray's reception by Elizabeth, 
289; his statement as to Mary's 
relations with Rizzio, 312. 

De Spes Gerau, Spanish ambassador, 
his plots in favour of Mary, 442, 

445> 446, 448, 45*» 45 6 > 457 ; in 
the Ridolfi plot, 458-465; ex- 
pelled from England, 466. 
D'Essl, French general in Scotland, 


Diane de Poictiers, 40, 43, 51, 56, 
76, 81 ; her disgrace, 84, 86. 

Don John of Austria ; his plan to 
marry Mary, 467-472. 

Douglases, the, ix, 14, 15, 21, 27, 
221, 363, 405. 

Douglas, Archibald, parson of Glas- 
gow, his proposal to Mary from 
Morton, 351 ; in the Darnley 
murder, 363, 405. 

Sir George, 14, 15, I7> *9, H, 

i 27, 30, 34, 273. 


Douglas, George, of Lochleven, love 
affair with Mary, 415, 416, 417, 
418, 419. 

- George, at Rizzio's murder, 303, 
305 ; denounced by Mary, 421. 

William, laird of Lochleven, 

405, 410, 4131 4i8. 

Willie, of Lochleven, aids Mary's 

escape, 418, 419. 

Lady, of Lochleven, 405, 413, 


Du Bellay, 54, 55- 

Dudley Ambrose, earl of Warwick, 
proposed for Mary, 187. 

Dudley, Robert, earl of Leicester, 8, 
106, 138, 155, 181, 187, 191; 
Randolph proposes him to Mary, 
191-192, 194; the match cools, 
196, 201 ; Mary smiles upon it 
again, 205, 207; his strange con- 
fession to Melville, 210-21 1, 213, 
216, 220, 227, 239 ; divulges Nor- 
folk's plot to Elizabeth, 442, 450. 

Dumbarton, 22, 24, 27, 31, 33, 132, 
410, 421. 

Dunbar, Mary of Guise in, 77 ; French 
troops in, 92; Mary's escape to 
after Rizzio's murder, 311, 380, 396. 

Dunblane, bishop of (Chisholm), sent 
to France to explain Bothwell 
marriage, 392. 

Dumfries, 279, 284, 287. 

Durham, Sandy, Darnley's treacher- 
ous valet, 368, 369. 

Edinburgh, castle of, 88, 91 ; 
Mary's stay at with Bothwell, 388 ; 
unsafe for her, 394. 

citizens of, 125; dislike to 

Mary's Mass, 127 ; indignation at 
Darnley's murder, 369; and at 
Mary's familiarity with Bothwell, 
370, 384, 404. 

treaty of, 92, 102, 1 10, in, 

114, 115, 348. 

Edward, prince of Wales, betrothed 
to Mary, 13, 16, 23, 29, 32, 33, 36. 

Elboeuf, marquis of (prince of Guise), 
77, 87, 118, 126, 134; in London, | 

Elgin, earl of, 267. 

Elizabeth, queen of England, 3, 44, 
S3. 69, 7i. 78, 79, 92, 96, 105, 106; 
refuses safe-conduct to Mary, 114, 
121, 122; withstands Mary's claims 
to the English succession, 132 ; 

summons the Lennoxes to Lon- 
don, 134; to meet Mary, 140; her 
intrigues to prevent a Spanish 
match, 141 ; serious illness, 145 ; 
to aid the Huguenots, 146; her 
diplomacy with Lethington, 148; 
suggests Dudley for Mary, 155; 
her plan to discredit Mary, 157 ; 
warns Lethington that Mary may 
not marry a great prince, 176; 
smiles upon the Lennoxes, 177; 
her policy towards Mary's marriage, 
180, 181, 189, 191-192; proposes 
Dudley to Mary, 192-193 ; her 
approaches to Spain, 196 ; alarmed 
at Lennox's intrigues, 203; her 
talks with J. Melville, 206-210 ; her 
anger at the succession claims, 212 ; 
refuses Damley permission to go to 
Scotland, 214 ; again alarmed, 218 ; 
powerless to stop the match, 231 ; 
recalls Lennox and Darnley, 248 ; 
her counter intrigues, 249; is 
shocked at Mary's behaviour with 
Darnley, 250 ; her anger to Hay of 
Balmerino, 260 ; her approaches to 
Spain, 263 ; her treatment of the 
Scottish protestants, 275-280; her 
difficult position, 283; receives 
Murray, 289-291 ; approaches made 
to Mary, 291 ; her danger, 299 ; 
her reception of the news of James's 
birth, 321 ; difficulty of her position, 
323; temporises with Mary, 348; 
her feigned sorrow at Darnley's 
murder, 367 ; her secret delight at 
the Bothwell marriage, 392; en- 
deavours to obtain possession of 
James, 392 ; her respect for royalty, 
407 ; her attitude towards Murray, 
407 ; her attitude on Mary's arrival 
in England, 427-431 ; the great 
conspiracy against, 439-452; pro- 
posal to deliver Mary to Morton, 
455* 45^; the Ridolfi plot to 
murder her, 458*465; beheads 
Norfolk, 466. 

Elizabeth of Valois, queen of Spain, 
40, 41, 47, 48, 69, 80, 106 ; Mary's 
letter to, 439 n. 

Elliot, John, of the Park, wounds 
Bothwell, 337. 

England, relations with Scotland, 10, 
"» 13, X4t »S- -9. 20-29. 30. 33» 
91, 92, 104. 

Eric, King of Sweden, a suitor 



for Mary, 133, 138; rejected, 

Erskine, Arthur, captain of the guard, 

present at Rizzio's murder, 305, 

306; plans Mary's escape after 

Rizzio's murder, 310. 

lord, 35. 

lady, 265. 

Erskine of Dun, French plot against, 

Exchequer House, Edinburgh, 330. 

Falkland, death of James v. at, 
11-12 ; submission of Arran at, 26. 

Ferrara, duke of, a suitor to Mary, 
133, 136. 

Fleming, lady, 35, 39, 56. 

lord, 66, 410, 431. 

Forster, Sir John, Warden of the 
Marches, 339. 

Fowler (Catholic agent) sent to Lon- 
don, 238, 265, 28(5. 

France, relations with Scotland, 10, 
27-28, 30-33, 42, 57, 59, 68, 79, 

Francesco, a Catholic agent of Mary, 

Francis 1., king of France, 11, 30, 


II., king of France, 34, 36, 

39, 46, 55, 56; married to Marv, 
61-63, 68; his letter to Elizabeth, 
73, 75 ; succeeds his father, 85 ; 
illness, 90 5 death of, 95. 

French troops in Scotland, 22, 33, 
87, 89, 112. 

Fyvie, laird of, 25. 

Glasgow, Darnley's interview with 

Mary at, 355, 422. 
Glencairn, earl of, welcomes Darnley, 

221, 267, 269, 312, 377. 
Gordons, the rising of the, 142-145. 
Gordon, John, in love with Mary, 

142; his disobedience, 143; his 

revolt, 144; executed, 145. 
rranvelle, Cardinal de, 185, 


Grey, lady Katharine, her claim to the 

English succession, 348, 367. 
Grimani, papal legate, 27. 
Guaras, Antonio, Spanish agent in 

the plot to marry Mary to Don 

John, 470-472. 
Guises, the, 40, 43, 45, 5*» 61, 65, 

68, 72, 77, 83, 87, 89, 92, 93, 99, 

105, x 33» 1411 W*, prefer an 
Austrian match for Mary, 173. 

Guise, duke of (Claude), 14, 15, 43. 

duke of (Francis), 43, 45, 62, 

84, 85, 103, 105, 115 ; enters Paris 
in triumph, 140; murder of, at 
Orleans, 148. 

the dowager of (Antoinette), 

38, 39, 4i, 57, 105, 107. 

Guzman de Silva, Spanish ambas- 
sador in London, 196, 212, 214; 
his interviews with Beaton, 215- 
216, 234; his interviews with 
Fowler, 238 ; receives Lethington, 
245 ; receives Hay of Balmerino, 
261 ; his conversations with Eliza- 
beth, 282, 291, 322; believes in 
Mary's prior knowledge of plot 
against Darnley, 367; his inter- 
views with Murray, 406; his 
opinion of Mary, 408-409, 431. 

Hamilton, 279, 420, 421, 422. 

House, Edinburgh, 559, 363. 

Hamiltons, the, 45, 60, 78, 139, 204, 

213, 221, 259, 269, 272, 298, 302, 

410, 412, 416. 
Hamilton, archbishop of St. Andrews, 

346, 359, 383 ; urges Mary's mur- 
der, 412; sides with her on her 

escape, 421. 

lord Claude, 359, 419. 

Hampton Court, conference adjourned 

to, 440. 
Hay of Balmerino, sent to London, 

260; carries good news to Mary, 

Hay of Talk in the Darnley murder, 

362, 405. 
Heigate's story, 355. 
Henry 11., king of France, 40, 46, 

50, 58, 59, 76, 81 ; death of, 82-84. 
in., king of France, 2. See 

also Anjou. 
viii., king of England, 10, 11, 

13, *4» *5 5 h* 5 Attempts to obtain 

possession of Mary, 10-29, 30, 33. 
Hepburn of Bowton in the Darnley 

murder, 362, 405. 

captain, insults the queen, 167. 

Hermitage, Bothwell at, 337 ; Mary 

visits him at, 338. 
Hemes, lord, 410, 416; at Lang- 

syde, 423; accompanies Mary in 

her flight, 424; sent to London, 

428, 430, 431- 

2 H 


Hertford, earl of. See Somerset. 
Hickford, a servant of the duke of 

Norfolk, arrested, 465. 
Howard of Effingham, lord, his 

embassy to France, 75, 76. 
Huguenots, the, 87, 94, 102, 105, 

106, 139, 141, 145, 152, 160, 161, 

Humes, the, 24, 314, 395. 
Hume, lord (Alexander Hume), 272, 

3M, 339. 395 ; ^ Langsjde, 423. 
Huntly, George Gordon, fourth earl 

of, 12, is, 24, 25, 50, 67, 108, 

109, 125 ; will set up the Mass in 

three shires, 130, 142; his rebellion, 

142-144; his death, 145. 
— fifth earl of, 302 ; escapes 

after Rizzio's murder, 308, 309, 

3*4. 339, 342, 346 ; in the Damley 

murder, 363, 369, 372, 377, 379, 

380, 384, 403, 410, 4x2. 
Huntingdon, earl of, 449, 453. 

James v., king of Scotland, 11. 
— VI., king of Scotland, 320? 

kept by Mar at Stirling, 392; 

competition for possession of him, 

392, 394 ; crowned, 408, 411. 
Jedburgh^ Mary at, 338, 339. 
John of Austria, Don. See Don 


Kilwinning, abbot of, urges Mary's 
murder, 412. 

Kirkcaldy of Grange, 87, 139, 144, 
205, 295, 303> 309, 377, 378, 379 ; 
at Carberry Hill, 399, 400, 401, 
403 ; at Langsyde, 422-423. 

Kirk-o'-Field, 359-364. 

Knollys, Sir F. , his mission to Mary, 
428, 429, 434; proposes George 
Carey to Mary, 44a 

Knox, John, 37, 51, 66, 87, 120, 121, 
125, 127, 128 ; his interview with 
Mary, 129, 131, 145 ; his indigna- 
tion at Mary's behaviour, 163, 169 ; 
his suspicions of a Catholic mar- 
riage, 183, 203 ; offends Damley, 
277 ; his fear and flight, 279. 

La Brossb, French envoy, 27. 

La Mothe Fenelon, French ambas- 
sador, 448, 466. 

Langsyde, battle of, 422-425. 

Leighton, English envoy to Mary, 

Leith, sacked by Somerset, 29; 
French troops in, 89 ; siege of, by 
Elisabeth's troops, 91 ; Mary lands 
at, 122. 

Lennox, Margaret, countess of, 28, 
30, 135 ; in favour with Elisabeth, 
177. 193-194, 197, 201-203, 208, 
214, 216, 234, 239, 24s, 246, 248, 
257 ; sent to the Tower, 260, 270, 
321 ; accuses Mary of Darnley's 
murder, 368. 

Matthew Stuart, earl of, 7, 

16, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 
13S, 201 ; goes to Scotland, 202. 
203, 213, 216, 218, 231, 234; 
Murray plots to capture him, 259 ; 
Elisabeth calls him a traitor, 260 ; 
at Mary's private marriage, 265, 
272 ; plots with Damley, 300, 302, 
33 1 > 37°; regent of Scotland, 

Lethington, William Maitland, laird 
of, 73, 87, 107 ; his fears of Mary's 
coming, 120, 121 ; sent to Eng- 
land, 126, 131, 132, 136, 139, 140, 
142, 145 ; another mission to Eng- 
land, 146 ; his intrigue with Spain, 
147 passim; his change of policy, 
153-157. 169; changes again, 177, 
181 ; favours Leicester's suit, 216, 
218; alarmed at Damley, 231, 
233; more Spanish intrigue, 238, 
242; sees lady Lennox and Guz- 
man, 245; bids for Catholic sup- 
port, 247 ; his return to Scotland 
with hopes of Spanish aid, 25$, 
272, 273 ; he fears results of his 
own policy, 286; signs the Rizzio 
bond, 303 ; reconciled to Bothwell, 
329; with Mary on the Border, 
339; his suggestion for removing 
Damley at Craigmillar, 342-344 5 
in the Damley murder, 363; his 
account of it sent to France, 366, 
369t 37*. 379 ; prepared to betray 
Mary, 387 ; at Carberry Hill, 398, 
401, 402 ; deaf to Mary's appeal, 
403; panic and flight, 412; de- 
nounced by Mary, 420; at York, 
433. 434. 436, 437, 43« ! proposes 
Mary's marriage to Norfolk, 438- 


Liggons, a Catholic agent, 439. 

Lignerolles, French envoy to Scot- 
land, 407. 

Lindsay, earl of, at Carberry, 400, 





401 ; at Lochleven, 410;- at York, 


lithgow, Mary born at, 12, 24; 
meets Darnley at, 298. 

Lisle, lord (John Dudley), 14. 

Livingston, Mary, marriage of, 229. 

Livingstone, lord, 35. 

Lochleven Castle, Mary at, 405-418 ; 
escape from, 419. 

Lorraine, cardinal (Charles), (see also 
Guises), 40, 45, 46, 47, 50, 52, 58, 
61, 74, 76, 84, 85, 90, 92, 96, 103, 
105, 106, 107, 136; he betrays 
Mary, 173 ; urges the archduke's 
suit, 179, 187, 188 ; in favour with 
Catharine, 189, 195 ; stops the 
match with Carlos, 197, 198, 199, 
215; proposes Condi for Mary, 
215, 226, 236, 246, 281, 323, 347. 

cardinal (John), 62. 

—— duchess of (Claude of France), 
47,49. 1 10. 

duchess of (Cristina of Den- 
mark), no. 

Lumley, lord, 291, 439, 443, 445. 

450, 451. 
Luther, Martin, 1, 


Maisonflbur, 54. 

Maries, the, 35, 118, 229. 

Margaret of France, duchess of Savoy, 

Margaret de Valois, 106. 
Manschal, earl, 314. 
Market Cross, Edinburgh, 266 ; 

Bothwell denounced at, 370. 
Mar, earl of (Erskine), commands at 

Edinburgh Castle, 320, 323, 378, 

384 ; guards James at Stirling, 385, 

392,395,455. w 

earl of. See Murray. 

Mary Queen of Scots, her appearance 
and character, 5 ; bearing of her 
love affairs on events, 6-9 ; birth 
of, 12; betrothed to Edward vi., 
13 ; Henry viii. attempts to obtain 
possession of, 16-20 ; Catholic plot 
to seize her, 24 ; crowned at Stir- 
ling, 26 ; conveyed to Dunkeld, 30 ; 
betrothed to the Dauphin, 30; 
carried to Inchmahome, 34 ; carried 
to France, 35 ; life in France, 38 
passim ; her education, 41-42 ; 
her importance as an international 
factor, 44 ; attempt to poison her, 
45 ; her wit, 46 ; her Latin letters, 

48; friendship with Diane de 
Poictiers, 51 ; her beauty, 55 ; her 
surroundings in France, 56; her 
betrayal of Scotland, 58 ; her mar- 
riage contract, 59; betrothal, 61 ; 
marriage, 63 ; her married life, 68 ; 
her claim to the English crown, 
72; receives Throckmorton and 
Howard, 75, 76 ; illness, 77 ; her 
English claims, 78-81 ; accession 
to French throne, 85 ; her ill-health, 
88; grief at her mother's death, 91 ; 
a widow, 95 ; her grief, 96, 97 ; 
verses by her, 98; new marriage 
plans, 100- 101 ; goes to Lorraine, 
104 ; Guisan plans for, 105 ; check- 
mated by Catharine and Elizabeth, 
106 ; Mary at Rheims, 107 ; offers 
of marriage, 107 ; defies the 
Scottish Protestants, no, in; 
hopes of a Spanish match, 112; 
voyage to Scotland, 11 3- 122; her 
dread of Scotland, 122; at Holy- 
rood, 123 ; hears Mass, 125 ; state 
entry into Edinburgh, 127 ; offended 
by Knox, 129 ; claims to the Eng- 
lish succession, 131 passim ; her 
many suitors, 133 ; her gaiety, 134 ; 
to meet Elizabeth, 140; a change 
of policy, 141; her warlike energy 
in the Gordon revolt, 143; her de- 
meanour, 145; her treatment of 
Chastelard, 159; her grief at the 
insult, 166 ; her fascination, 167 ; 
uncongenial surroundings, 169 ; her 
new Spanish policy, 175-176; 
Darnley's suit for, 177 ; her inter- 
view with Randolph at Craigmillar, 
182 ; her diplomacy, 184 ; her ill- 
ness, 184-185 ; outwits Randolph, 
187 ; her distrust of Catharine, 189 ; 
her reception of Dudley's suit, 192- 
193; disappointed at Don Carlos' 
refusal, 198 ; Anjou offered to her, 
200 ; and declined, 201 ; her recep- 
tion of Lennox, 204; sends J. 
Melville to London, 206-211 ; 
anxiety for the Spanish match, 215 ; 
bad news, 217 ; her feigned negoti- 
ations with France, 218 ; receives 
Randolph at St. Andrews, 219; 
her clever diplomacy, 220 ; receives 
Darnley at Wemyss, 223 ; her con- 
sistent policy, 224 ; in love with 
Darnley, 233 ; but still cautious, 
2 3*» 3 37» 239; the wooing, 240- 


243 ; still looked to Spain, 244 ; 
summons Murray to Stilling, 253 ; 
anger with him, 254; to marry 
Darnley under Spanish Catholic 
auspices, 256; reassures the Pro- 
testants, 259; receives the good 
news of Philip's consent, 262 ; 
marries Darnley privately, 265 ; 
the public marriage, 267 ; Protest- 
ants demand the abolition of the 
Mass, etc., 273; defeats Murray's 
revolt, 278-280 ; demands Catholic 
aid, 280; 'jars' with Darnley, 
285; present at Rizzio's murder, 
304-308 ; her clever diplomacy and 
escape from Holyrood, 310 ; reaches 
Dunbar, 311 ; returns to Edin- 
burgh, 314 ; decline of her love for 
Darnley, 317 ; her plans, 319 ; birth 
of her child, 320 ; receives promises 
of aid from the Pope, etc., 323 ; 
her flight to Alloa, 32$ ; her alleged 
immoral relations with Bothwell, 
330; reproaches Darnley for his 
projected flight, 333 ; at Jedburgh, 
330-340 ; visits Bothwell at Her- 
mitage, 338 ; serious illness at Jed- 
burgh, 339 ; ' in favour of Morton,' 
339 ; in love with Bothwell, 340 ; 
at Craigmillar, 341 ; the conference 
to rid her of Darnley, 343 ; her 
attitude thereupon, 345; her de- 
pendence on Spain, the Pope, and 
the Catholics, 347-348 ; at Drum- 
mond and Tullibardine, 349; 
rumours of her amours with Both- 
well, 351 ; visits Darnley at Glas- 
gow, 354 ; her talk with Darnley, 
355; visits him at Kirk-o'-Field, 
360-361 ; after the murder, 366 ; 
general suspicion against her, 367- 
368, 369, 370; rumours of her 
intended marriage with Bothwell, 
379; abduction to Dunbar, 379; 
her complicity, 380; return to 
Edinburgh, 381 ; revolt of the lords 
against Bothwell, 384 ; refuses to 
desert him, 385 ; arms against the 
lords, 386; (marriage with Both- 
well, 388; her unhappiness, 389- 
391 ; excuses her marriage, 393 ; 
at Borthwick, 395, 396; flight to 
Dunbar, 396; at Carberry Hill, 
397-401 ; surrender at Carberry, 
401 ; imprisoned at Edinburgh, 
403 ; her alleged letter to Bothwell, 

404; carried to Lochleven, 404; 
abdication, 411; her passion for 
Bothwell wanes, 414; her good 
health at Lochleven, 414; child 
born, 415 ; attempts to escape, 412, 
417 ; her love affair with George 
Douglas, 415-419; escape, 418; 
letters written from Niddry, 419; 
her proclamation from Hamilton, 
420 ; at Langsyde, 422-423 ; flight, 
424; crosses the Solway, 425; 
appeals to Elizabeth, 427 ; her un- 
wise letter by Hemes, 430; her 
unfortunate policy, 432 ; repre- 
sented at the York conference, 
433 ; her complicity in the great 
conspiracy, 439-452 ; her letters to 
Norfolk, 441, 444, 446, 453, 455 ; 
George Carey proposed to her, 
440 ; proposal to surrender her to 
Morton, 455-456; instructions to 
Ridolfi, 458-465 ; at Sheffield, 466 ; 
Don John of Austria's proposal, 
467-472 ; her failure, 474 ; her dis- 
advantages in competing with 
Elizabeth, 475. 

Mary of Guise, queen -regent of 
Scotland, 11, 15, 18-19, 23, 24, 
25, 26, 33, 35, 44, 50, 51, 1J7, 67, 
72, 77, 81, 87, 88 ; death of, 91. 

Mary Tudor, queen of England, 15, 
44, 5*. 53 J death of, 67, 69. 

Mason, sir John, English ambassador 
in France, 45, 73. 

Maxwell, lord, 21, 272. 

Melville, sir James, 151 ; his mission 
to London, 206-208 ; his talks with 
Elizabeth and Leicester, 209-211 ; 
his warning to Mary, 252 ; carries 
to England the news of James's 
birth, 320, 321, 379; at Dunbar, 
382, 389 ; his advice to Mary, 411. 

sir Robert, 320, 321, 347, 392 ; 

at York, 433, 438. 

Mendoza advises Mary to refuse 
release, 473. 

Mesnaige, Jacques, French envoy, 28. 

Methven, lord, proposed by Murray 
as a husband for Mary, 416 ; she 
prefers George Douglas, ibid, 

Montgomerie, captain, Sieur de 
L'Orges, 16,30; kills Henry 11. , 

Montmorenci, constable of France, 
5*. 53, 58, 75. 76, 78, 83i *4, 93. 



Moret, Savoyard envoy, 133, 136, 
228, 252, 545, 367. 

Morton, earl of, 7, 120; welcomes 
Darnley, 221, 267, 273, 295; 
incites Darnley's jealousy, 300-303 ; 
at the murder, 306 ; flight to Eng- 
land after Rizzio's murder, 312; 
pardon of, 339 ; will sign bond for 
Darnley's murder if Mary authorises 
him, 351-352; privy to Darnley's 
murder, 360, 372, 377, 3*4. 395 ; 
at Carberry Hill, 401, 402, 403, 
411 ; his fear of Mary, 412 ; at 
Langsyde, 423; at York, 433, 

437, 455* 
Murray, James Stuart, earl of, 
regent of Scotland, 7, 8, 60, 66 ; 
plot against in France, 83, 87, 108, 
109, no; his fears of Mary's 
coming, 120, 125, 126, 127; 
offended at the Mass, 130; his 
moderate course, 131, 132, 134, 
il&, 137, 139. 141. M^; fresh 
attempts to settle the English suc- 
cession, 145, 154; his anger with 
Chastelard, 163 ; disclaims to 
Cecil the Spanish match, 182; 
refuses to stay the coming of 
Lennox, 203 ; leans toward Leices- 
ter, 214, 216; alarmed about 
Darnley, 226-229, 240; retires to 
St. Andrews, 241 ; focuses the 
Protestant discontent, 250; dis- 
trusts Lethington, 252 ; refuses to 
sanction the Darnley marriage, 
253 ; plots with Randolph to cap- 
ture Darnley, 259, 269, 270; his 
revolt, 272 ; defeat and flight, 
278-280, 287 ; seeks interview with 
Elizabeth, 288 ; Elizabeth's recep- 
tion of him, 289-291 ; seeks for- 
giveness, 299 ; plots with Morton 
and Darnley, 300 ; privy to Rizzio's 
murder, 303; returns to Edin- 
burgh, 309; submits to Mary, 
312 ; remains with Mary on birth 
of James vi., 320, 323 ; endeavours 
to secure Morton's pardon, 324 ; 
with Mary on the Border, 337; 
accompanies Mary to Hermitage, 
338 ; with her at Jedburgh, 339 ; 
his presence at the conference off 
CraigmUlar, 343; entertains Bed- 
ford at St. Andrews, 349 ; did not 
sign the Darnley murder bond, 
352 ; privy to Darnley's murder, 

360 ; his treacherous dealing with 
Mary, 372 ; leaves for France, and 
escapes signing the Ainslie bond, 
376; return after Carberry, 403; 
his interview with Guzman in 
London, 406; made regent, 411 ; 
sees Mary at Lochleven, 412 ; 
combination against him, 415 ; 
approaches Mary, 415 ; denounced 
by Mary, 420 ; at Langsyde, 422- 
423 ; at York, 433, 434, 436, 437 ; 
feigns approval of the Norfolk 
match, 440; approached by Nor- 
folk, 446 ; murder of, 455. 

Murray, countess of, 320, 414. 

James, brother of Tullibardine, 

denounces Bothwell, 370. 

Navarre, Anthony de Bourbon, 52, 
61, 84, 87, 89, 97, 100, 101, 102, 
103, 104, 106, 133. 

Nemours, duke of (Jacques de Savoy), 
79, 85. *33, 136. 

Niddry, Mary's flight to, 419, 420. 

Noailles, viscount de, 88. 

Norfolk, duke of, 296; at York, 
433. 434, 435. 436, 437. 43*; hi* 
marriage proposed, 438, 439 ; letters 
from Mary to, 441, 444, 44$, 453, 
455 ; his plot and its collapse, 439- 
450, 451 ; participation in the 
Ridolfi plot, 458-406; beheaded, 

Northern rising, 439-452 passim. 

Northumberland, earl of, 439 ; defeat 
and flight, 451-452. 

Oisbl, M. d', 113. 

Orkney, bishop of (Adam Bothwell), 

marries Mary to Bothwell, 388. 
Orleans, Francis 11. dies at, 95 ; 

Francis, duke of Guise, murdered 

at, 148. 
Ormiston, in the Darnley murder, 362, 

369 ; hanged, 405. 

Paris, an accomplice of Darnley's 

murder, 360. 
Paroys, madame de, 51. 
Paz, Luis de, Spanish envoy to Mary, 

sent to Scotland, 179, 180, 183, 

215, 238. 
Pembroke, earl of, 450. 
Philip 11., king of Spain, 2, 7, 44, 

53, 68, 80, 81, 101, 106, no, in, 

151 ; accepts Mary's offer for Don 


Carlos, 17 i t 178, 182, 196 ; declines 
the match, 197, 200, 245 ; accepts 
the Darnley match, 261 ; to aid 
Mary against Protestant revolt, 280- 
282 ; his reply to Yaxley's mission, 
293; alienated by Bothwell mar- 
riage. 393 ; new conspiracy with 
Norfolk, 444, 445 ; consents to the 
Ridolfi plot, 462. 

Pinkey, battle of, 34. 

Pitarrow, laird of, 227. 

Powry, hanged for Darnley's murder, 

Protestants, Scottish, their distrust at 
Darnley's coming, 221, 227, 230, 
241, 243, 250, 259, 269 ; revolt of, 
272-282 ; in exile in England, 288, 
295, 303; return after Rizzio's 
murder, 309 ; offended with Eliza- 
beth, 322, 324; fresh appeals to 
Elizabeth, 385. 

Quadra Alvaro, bishop of Aquila, 
Spanish ambassador, 106 ; receives 
Lethington in London, 148, 177, 
178 ; his death, 180, 215. 

Randolph, William, English envoy 
to Scotland, 125 ; his first inter- 
view with Mary, 127, 137, 143; 
his comments on Chastelard's out- 
rage, 163 ; received by Mary in 
bed, 168; his malicious gossip, 
169 ; urges Mary to marry an Eng- 
lishman, 180, 181 ; sees Mary at 
Craigmillar, 182 ; returns to Eng- 
land, 183 ; again in Scotland, 184 ; 
he is puzzled by events, 189-191 ; 
believes in the Dudley match, 205, 
213 $ sees Mary at St. Andrews, 
219 ; his bewilderment at Darnley's 
advent, 221, 226; still believes in 
the Leicester match, 230; reports 
Mary's love for Darnley, 243 ; 
malicious gossip, 257 ; reports dis- 
putes between Mary and Darnley, 
285, 296 ; privy to Rizzio s murder, 


Raulet, French secretary, 188, 228. 

Reformation, the, 1 ; its effect on in- 
ternational relations, 9, 44, 65. 

Religious troubles in Scotland, 67, 
7*. 77. 79. 8i» 87, 107, 120, 121, 
125, 129, 130, 241. 

Reres, lady (Mrs. Forbes of Reres), 
320, 356, 360. 

Riccarton, laird of (Hepburn), 418 ; 
sent to take Dunbar, 42a 

Ridolfi Rodolfo, 443, 458-465. 

Ridpath, Andrew, captures Huntly, 

Rizzio, David, secretary, comes to 
Scotland, 228; Mary's treatment 
of, 252 ; in high favour, 257, 265, 
286, 293, 297, 298 ; Darnley jealous 
of, 300, 301, 302; murder of, 304- 


Joseph, secretary, 318, 369. 

Robsart, Amy, 8. 

Ronsard, French poet, 55. 

Ross, bishop of (Leslie), 53, 66, 96, 

108, 320, 342, 433, 438, 443. 444. 

446, 452 ; imprisoned, 456 ; in the 

Ridolfi plot, 458-465 ; imprisoned, 

464 ; his strange confessions, 465. 
Rothes, lord, 66, 272, 303, 312, 377. 
Ruthven, earl of, 272, 303 ; at Rizzio's 

murder, 305-308 ; flies to England 

and dies, 312. 
the younger, at Lochleven, 


Sadlirr, Sir Ralph, 16, 17; his 
interview with Mary of Guise, 18- 
19, 24, 28. 

St. Andrews, 164; Mary's stay at, 

St Giles' Church, Bothwell's banns 
published at, 386. 

Saint John, prior of (prince of Guise), 
118; killed, 168. 

St. Quentin, battle of, 53. 

Scotland, international relations of, 
10, 13, 14, 15-20 passim, 25, 30, 
33. 4». 57. 59. 68, 79, 81, 90, 91, 
175, 407, 409. 

Scotts, the, 24, 221. 

Scutcheons, the, 74. 

Scrope, lady, 434, 439. 

Semple, 229. 

Seton, 265, 310, 368. 

lady, 265. 

lord, 314, 410, 416, 419. 

Shrewsbury, countess of, jealous of 
Mary, 474. 

earl of, accused by his wife of 

flirting with Mary, 474. 

Sidney, sir Henry, 141, 166. 

Sol way Moss, battle of, 11. 

Somerset, duke of, protector of Eng- 
land, invades Scotland, 29, 31, 33- 



Stirling, castle of, 24, 34, 241 ; 
meeting of the lords at, to oppose 
Bothwell, 384, 385 ; James vi. at, 

3»5» 387. 
Strathbogie Castle, 142, 143, 144. 
Stuart of Traquair, 31a 

lord John, 134. 

lord Robert, abbot of Holyrood 

(earl of Orkney), 35, 122, 134 ; 

present at Rizzio's murder, 304, 

306; warns Darnley, 361. 
Sutherland, earl of, 377. 

Tamworth, his mission to Scotland, 

274» 275, 282. 
Tantallon, 11, 341. 
Taylor, Darnley's page, murdered, 


Thornton, Scottish Catholic envoy, 

Throckmorton, Sir N., 74, 75, 77, 
78, 79, 82, 86, 88, 95t 96, 99, "«» 
103, 104; interview with Murray 
in France, 109, 11 1; interview 
with Mary, 113, 114, 115; sent to 
Scotland to stop the Darnley match, 
*49» 254-255, 256 ; his warning to 
Elizabeth, 256; sent to Scotland 
after Carberry, 407, 409, 411 ; 

arrested for the Norfolk conspiracy, 

45o> 451- 
Tullibardine, laird of; 399, 411. 

Vassy, massacre of Huguenots at, 

Villeroy, French envoy to Scotland, 

War of religion begins in France, 

i39» 141. 
Warwick, earl of (Ambrose Dudley), 

Elizabeth suggests him for Mary, 

Wemyss, castle of, Mary first sees 

Darnley at, 223. 
Westmoreland, earl of, his share in 

the northern rising, 451-452. 
Whittinghame (William Douglas), 

proposal to Mary from sent by 

Morton, 351. 
Wilson, Dr., 465, 471. 

Yaxley, his mission to Spain, 281, 

292 ; his death, 294. 
Yester, laird of, at Carberry Hill, 

York, the conference at, 433-440. 

Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press